DUNCAN — An anonymous threat against Duncan High School has prompted school authorities to take extra security precautions Wednesday on the second day of the fall semester, Principal Justin Smith said.
The threat came after the arrest of three Duncan school students in the Friday shooting death of East Central University baseball player Christopher Lane. Lane, of Australia, was gunned down while jogging in what police say was a “thrill kill.” Police have not released details of the threat against the school that is under investigation.
But Superintendent Sherry Labyer confirmed the threat was made “against the high school.” She said officials will meet Monday afternoon to decide if extra security will also be needed Thursday.
Labyer said a number of police officers have been assigned to work at the high school Wednesday and officers are also working at the middle school.
The three students arrested, James Francis Edwards Jr., 15; Chancey Allen Luna, 16; and Michael Dewayne Jones, 17, attended Duncan schools last spring.
Students at Duncan schools will not be allowed to leave for lunch Wednesday. Once students arrive for the day, they will be required to stay on campus unless a parent or guardian checks them out.
Labyer said things were going as smoothly as possible Wednesday morning.
“Everything is calm and things are going well,” Labyer said. “It is out of the ordinary.”
Also, the district will allow excused absences for any student whose parents decide to keep home due to safety concerns.
Patrons were notified of the threat in a letter from Labyer posted on the district website.
“This evening, (Tuesday) we were informed by the Duncan Police Department of anonymous threats involving Duncan High School. The credibility of the person or persons communicating the threats is very difficult to ascertain. However, we want to be proactive in taking reasonable precautions,” Labyer wrote.
All school campuses in the district will be closed at lunch time, the letter reads.
“Last Friday's shooting death here in Duncan is a tragedy in so many respects. As a School District, our hearts and prayers are certainly with the family and friends of Christopher Lane. Since the shooting, our administrators have been in continuous contact with the Duncan Police Department to ensure that we are aware of any information that may affect the safety of our students,” the letter reads.
Smith said students and staff at the high school are trying to have classes as normal.
“We are moving forward,” Smith said.
Labyer wrote in the letter, “We will certainly understand any decision that you may feel you need to make with regard with your child or children. If you believe that you prefer to keep your child or children home tomorrow, we respect your decision. Accordingly, any absence for this reason will be excused.”
The letter also reads, “We certainly do not wish to panic our students and parents/guardians. However, we believe it important to notify you of the situation. School will go ahead as planned with normal hours. Please know that we are committed to taking all reasonable action to protect the well-being of our students.”