HIGDON, Ala. - The Jackson County Superintendent of Education spoke with WHNT News 19 on Tuesday about what prompted safety precautions at North Sand Mountain School.
Superintendent Kevin Dukes said it was due to a 15-year-old boy who trespassed at the school last week.
On Thursday, the teen, who was shirtless, walked in the school building. He was escorted out, but got on the roof of the school. The Jackson County Sheriff's Office removed him.The boy later showed up at North Sand Mountain's ball game that night. At that point, the Sheriff's Office removed him from the game and he is now banned from the school campus, Dukes said.
Dukes said the teen is also banned from Bryant and Flat Rock school campuses. The teen does not attend Jackson County Schools. He is home-schooled, Dukes said.
Dukes said a parent saw the teen walking near North Sand Mountain School on Friday, but he wasn't on campus. Dukes said the teen has not made any threats nor has he shown he has a weapon. Dukes said "the situation is completely defused" and the school system continues to work with the Sheriff's Office on the matter.
"We cannot validate that said he was going to do harm to students at the school. We have not found anything on any of his accounts that said he was going to do anything." said Jackson County Sheriff, Chuck Phillips.
Late Monday night, North Sand Mountain School posted a message on its Facebook Page addressing recent concerns raised:
"To the parents and concerned citizens of the NSM community:
NSM is working closely with the Jackson County Sheriff's Office and the Jackson County Board of Education to provide necessary safety precautions at North Sand Mountain School. School will go on as scheduled tomorrow, January 17. The situation is being constantly monitored, and we can assure you that your children's safety is the #1 priority of North Sand Mountain School and the Jackson County Board of Education."
Although school officials say the 15-year-old was dealt with appropriately, many parents aren't happy with the lack of communication and information.
"My kid isn't going to school until I find out what's happened to the kid, if there is a threat, has anyone checked the school for anything dangerous." said Travis McDowell.
Travis McDowell said parents didn't hear about what happened until Sunday night on social media.
"Heard a bunch of rumors. Started trying to contact the sheriff's office. They didn't know anything at the time," said McDowell.
The next morning he said he went to the school where he received very vague information, so he went to the school board. He didn't receive any information from officials, until digging for it himself.
"They let it explode on Facebook and social media, and it snowballed. It got way bigger than it apparently was, but there should be some sort of protocol set in place," said McDowell.
He claimed school officials have yet to properly reach out to parents.
"I'd like a statement issued from the school itself finding out what's happening," said McDowell. "I'd like to know why the sheriff's office allowed him to come back to the school a second time if they already had issues."
McDowell said he and a few other parents will be at the upcoming school board meeting. They hope to discuss a better communication system between the school and parents.