Alleged Threat at SEHS Put School on Soft Lockdown, but Can’t Dampen Spirits, Principal Fuller says
Students at SEHS were still able to take part in fun Homecoming activities Tuesday at the school which was on soft lockdown. (Photos from SEHS)
When a post on social media began making the rounds Monday regarding an alleged threat to students at Stanhope Elmore High School, law enforcement, school officials and city officials were on point, hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.
A Snapchat conversation screen shot began circulating heavily across multiple forms of social media, making reference to some type of threat, saying that trouble was coming to the school on Tuesday, during Homecoming week.
Investigators with the Millbrook Police Department have questioned students in the matter, but at this point it is still under investigation.
“I put the school on soft lockdown as a precaution and there was a heavy police presence thanks to the Millbrook Police which really helped keep everyone calm,” Principal Ewell Fuller said. “My main message for now is that I really want to thank the parents, and the Millbrook community for keeping their heads. But the strongest people in all of this were the students, and that really impressed me.”
Some parents chose to keep their kids at home Tuesday once word of the threat emerged Monday evening, but for the most part school went on as usual.
“It appears that there is no threat to SEHS students, but the details of that are still being sorted out,” Fuller said. “I am just so proud of how the entire community handled this and how supportive they have been. It really means a lot. The most important thing we can do as administrators and teachers is do everything possible to keep all of our kids safe. This week we have a lot going on, and we are gearing up for Homecoming Friday. We are making memories this week and spirits are very high!”
Elmore County Supt. Richard Dennis spoke to the River Region’s Elmore Autauga News several times over the past two days once the alleged threat began to surface and said all officials were taking any perceived threat extremely seriously.
“This is not a joking matter and we will not handle it that way,” Dennis said. He said that all evidence will be examined and his office is working with the Millbrook Police Department to find out who is responsible. “Be assured that anyone who makes a threat to the school is pursued legally and if a student is involved, he or she is also either recommended for expulsion or alternative school for a year.”
On Monday when we first contacted Chief P.K. Johnson about the social media posts, he said “We don’t find any of this funny, and when we find the person responsible they will not be laughing.”
This morning multiple law enforcement officers were on the grounds, hallways and a constant presence in the event someone tried to start any trouble. Fortunately, that was not the case.
“Last night I was contacted by my patrol commander who advised we had intercepted a social media post about a possible threat directed at students at SEHS. After speaking with him I immediately contacted Principal Fuller and assured him that we had already set wheels in motion to direct additional police presence at the school. We assured him our officers would be in a high state of alert to ensure the security of students and faculty at SEHS. Beginning last night and through the early hours this morning investigators from our criminal investigations unit have been in contact with Alabama Fusion Center and ALEA utilizing our partnership with them and their resources.”
Chief Johnson said his office was able to gain much needed information and other posts on social media that led them to contact local internet service providers and track the original point of the threatening post.
“We have identified a possible suspect and are following up on investigative leads at this time,” Johnson said. “No arrests have been made as of yet and there is a strong possibility that this was nothing more than a hoax. That matters not. I want our citizens, parents and students to know that anytime anyone interrupts the learning environment and threatens the safety and security of our students, we as a police department take that very seriously. If, at the conclusion of this investigation, we find that anyone intentionally disrupted the learning environment, we will charge them and prosecute them to the fullest extent, regardless of their intent. I want to commend Principal Fuller and Elmore County Board of Education for working with us to insure the safety of our students and I appreciate all of the hard work put in by our investigators and our police officers involved. When I pulled on campus to check on things this morning, if I had had rude intentions I would have turned around myself. Everyone did an outstanding job.”
Fuller closed his comments by saying, “I just have to say it again, that I am so proud of our students, faculty, law enforcement and officials who all came together as one and had a plan in place. We all want to send a very strong message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.”
Throughout the rest of this week, the school has fun activities leading up to Homecoming. A pep rally will be held at the school Friday at 9 a.m. in preparation for homecoming. The annual Homecoming Parade will take place at 2 p.m. from Millbrook Middle, taking a left on Chapman Road, making a left on Main Street, then a left back onto the campus of SEHS. Homecoming will include a presentation of the Homecoming Court and the King and Queen. A 7 p.m. kickoff against Smith Station will be at Foshee-Henderson Stadium.