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Bomb threat in Paris school determined to be ‘not credible’

The words “bomb thret” were found written on the wall inside a bathroom stall at Paris Elementary School around 2:30 p.m. Monday, according to school Superintendent Wayne Fawcett.

Fawcett said he, school resource officer Mike Haney, Paris Chief of Police John O’Brien and school Principal Alan Anderson determined the message was not credible.

“It was non-specific, not directed at any one person and not specific as to time,” Fawcett said Tuesday. “We all agreed it was not a credible threat.”

Fawcett said Haney and O’Brien searched the school building around 3 p.m. Monday. The school was searched again Monday night after students, teachers and staff went home for the day. The searches yielded nothing, Fawcett said.

Students were dismissed beginning at 3:05 p.m., which is normal, Fawcett said. They were not told about the threat at that time. After meeting with district principals, Fawcett, using a computerized system, contacted every student, parent and staff member around 5 p.m. Monday and told them about the incident.

The restroom where the words were written is primarily used by third and fourth grade girls, Fawcett said. The school has 440 students in Pre-Kindergarten through fourth grade. Fawcett said the writing was discovered by a student who reported it to building officials.

Fawcett said an additional police officer will be present at the school in the mornings. Fawcett also said bathrooms in the district’s three campuses will be checked after every class change. Video cameras in school hallways will be redirected so that entrances to bathrooms can be monitored. Teachers were also told to minimize bathroom breaks during class time, Fawcett said.

Photographs were taken of the message before it was removed and Fawcett said those will be compared to samples of students’ handwriting.

“We started that this morning,” Fawcett said.

If a student can be identified as the writer, they’ll face punishment in accordance with the elementary school’s disciplinary policy, Fawcett said.

“Our first priority is the safety of our students and staff,” Fawcett said. “We take even the slightest indication of danger seriously. We will appropriately discipline students that may commit such acts as this, and further, we will seek prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.”

Similar threats have been found in schools in northwest Arkansas and Ozark recently, Fawcett said.

“Maybe a kid saw something on TV and decided to do something funny,” Fawcett said.