Memphis School of Excellence student expelled after threat found

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Students at the Memphis School of Excellence are on high alert after threats to shoot up the school were found written on a bathroom wall.

School officials said the situation has been handled, and the student responsible for the threats has been expelled, but some parents are still worried.

Principal Alise Pruitt said in the 10 years of the school's existence, her administration has never encountered a dangerous threat like this.

"They have metal detectors up now, and they're having people not just with the metal detectors, but they actually have the wands, too — the metal wands," school volunteer Audice Baker said.

In a letter sent to parents, school officials said threatening graffiti was found on a wall of one of the bathrooms.

Principal Pruitt said as soon as the school administration was notified of the threats, Memphis Police and Homeland Security were contacted.

"I think they're taking the necessary steps to try to make sure things are safe around here," Baker said.

School officials said all students were searched and held in the gym the next day before being released to their next class. Students weren’t even allowed to carry backpacks.

After an extensive search, Memphis Police said a 13-year-old girl was charged with having a small box cutter in her locker.

Pruitt said officers did not find any firearms.

While it's unclear exactly what prompted the threats, some parents think the cause may be bullying.

"It's something that needs to be taken seriously as far as the bullying issue, and when a child feels that that's their only option as far as violence and that type of violence, it can lead to something that could be tragic for everybody involved," Baker said.

Students are on Thanksgiving break now, but the principal said when classes start again, there will be randomly enforced screenings on all students and visitors.

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