What should have been a typical Monday morning for students in Lauderdale county became an unplanned short school day.
Headmaster for Russell Christian Academy, Joey Knight says immediate action was needed after an unexpected message reached the campus.
“Early this morning shortly after eight o'clock we were notified that our school was listed among other schools as having a bomb threat. Immediately we called the Lauderdale County Sheriff's department. Even before they arrived we evacuated the students, faculty and staff.”
Along with Russell Christian; Lauderdale county schools superintendent Randy Hodges made the decision to dismiss all county school based on a message sent by Sheriff Billy Sollie.
“We made the decision to dismiss all the schools at 11:30 today based on a message from Sheriff Billy Sollie at 8:47. At that time we did a fire drill and evacuated the building. After that we had further communications with the Sheriff's department.”
After the county schools dismissed, the city schools also followed and dismissed all students by lunch time.
Chief deputy Ward Calhoun says that their investigation into the matter is still ongoing.
"We are using every available resource as well as federal resources in order to determine who sent a message. We will continue our investigation and it is our hope that we will identify the party or parties involved, and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.”
Calhoun said that even if the incident turns out to be a prank still has serious penalties attached to it.
“It is a felony in the state of Mississippi to report a threat with a sentence of up to 10 years and a $10,000 fine. If we are successful in identifying the individual or individuals involved in this; we will also be checking with the federal government to determine if there would be a federal charge that might be appropriate for that individual as well."
Calhoun says that while no bombs or other items of interest were found; they still wish to find the individual responsible for the threat. To call in a tip dial 1-855-485-tips.