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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Area school to remain on heightened alert

Friday, April 1, 2011

LINTON -- Linton-Stockton School Superintendent Nick Karazsia says he's not willing to take any chances when it comes to the safety of his students.

That's why the school will remain on heightened-alert status the remainder of the school year.

The rumor of a secondary incident, following the initial rumor earlier in the week that was aimed at junior high students, was uncovered Thursday night.

"Around 8:30 or so (Thursday night), I got a call from one of our staff members who had a conversation with a student who heard something and they were concerned," Karazsia explained.

Karazsia then gathered additional information and called the parents of the student to confirm what happened.

"The parent confirmed the information and they said there could be some kind of follow-up to the original rumor," he said.

Karazsia told the parents that he would turn the information over to the Linton Police Department and officers would be in contact with them.

Later in the evening, Linton Police Chief Troy Jerrell called Karazsia to let him know what was happening with the investigation.

"Troy let me know where he was at with the investigation and they couldn't verify that the threat was real," Karazsia said. "We talked about the situation and there were a lot of rumors and things going around."

Karazsia met with his administrative staff Friday morning.

"We felt like it was better to be proactive rather than reactive," Karazsia stressed. "Troy said he'd have police officers (at the school) throughout the course of this incident. ... We decided to remain on heightened alert. The classrooms are locked and we're controlling traffic. We decided to have all outside entrances of the buildings locked. We're not in a lockdown, but we have security. ... You can't automatically come into the building. If parents need to come into the building, they need to call the school and we have people monitoring the doors and they'll let them in."

Karazsia stressed that security at the school will remain high for the remainder of the school year.

"Unfortunately, this isn't the end of it. I'm sure rumors and stories will continue to float around and pop up," he said. "We're doing this (Friday and Saturday) and until further notice... we'll continue this until we're completely satisfied there is no threat. I'm not saying there is, but we want to control the situation the best we can.

"If we need to continue it until the end of the year, that's what we'll do. ... Our investigation is ongoing. Until we feel like we've exhausted all of our resources and leads, we have to stay (on heightened alert)."

Saturday is a scheduled snow make-up day for Linton students and school will be in session.

But two school-related events, a Relay For Life walk and student clean-up day, were canceled for Saturday.

"I really appreciate the help from the police and them sharing the information and working with us," Karazsia said.

He added he understands the concerns of parents who didn't want to send their children to school Friday.

"I understand that. I'm a parent and I know how they feel," he said. "But statistics show schools are one of the safest places children can be. With all the staff and resources at school, schools are a safe place.

"Unfortunately, you have incidents like at Martinsville (where a student was recently shot) that lets you know it can happen."

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