HORN LAKE, Miss. — Several parents of students in the Desoto County School District said they kept their kids home Wednesday after rumors began swirling online about a possible shooting, and one woman said the threats came the day after her nephew had a gun pulled on him on the bus.
Taking No Chances
The social media posts referred to a “shootout” at Horn Lake High School.
"Kids are actually carrying these things out," said Cheanel Nolden, whose two kids and nephew go to the school.
Nolden's daughter showed her a Snapchat image Tuesday night, warning another student to be on the lookout for a shootout, expected to happen Wednesday.
Before long, parents were talking about it on social media, too.
School officials say they "found no proven validity" to the posts, but some parents weren’t taking any chances, saying they would be keeping their kids home.
Nolden made the tough decision to send her kids to school anyway, but said she checked in with them every half hour.
"I just prayed about it last night and I prayed over them again this morning and hopefully nothing actually happens at school," she said.
Threats at school might not be the only place
School officials said that even though police didn’t think the threats were credible, they brought in extra officers anyway.
"My daughter said, 'Yea, everything is fine as of right now,’ and that there’s really a lot of kids out of school and the campus is full of police,'" Nolden said.
But the threats came just one day after Nolden said her nephew had a gun pulled on him on the school bus, though district officials haven't confirmed that incident happened.
"He pulled it on my nephew and told him, 'Give me all your money,'" she said.
Nolden said school officials didn’t tell her sister what happened until more than four hours later.
"The only thing that the school can say is, 'It wasn’t loaded,' Nolen said, "And because my nephew didn’t feel threatened, that there wasn’t any cause for alarm. Really? That’s the only thing you can say? Which is crazy."
Nolden also shared an email with WREG, showing that school officials didn't notify parents about the social media threats until almost 8 a.m. Wednesday.
"They didn’t say anything," she said.
Nolden said her son has endured months of bullying at the school, and that after this social media threat, her sister is considering pulling her son out of public school altogether.
"I’m just out of answers, I don’t know," Nolden said. "It’s just gotta stop."
In a statement Wednesday morning, Desoto County School officials said:
"School officials contacted the Horn Lake Police Department during the overnight hours concerning several social media posts. Even though law enforcement officials found no proven validity to any of the posts, school officials requested an increased police presence on campus today to ease concerns of parents and students. Parents were contacted by text and email."
School officials didn’t respond when asked to confirm if, in fact, a student pulled a gun on another boy on the bus Tuesday.
WREG also wanted to know how many extra officers were brought in and how many students were absent Wednesday, but school officials didn’t respond to those questions, either.
An email to the Horn Lake Police Department went unanswered as of Wednesday afternoon.