JACKSON COUNTY, Ala. - The Woodville community remains on alert following concern about a threat that began last Friday, and ended Tuesday when deputies arrested and charged a student. WHNT News 19 learned that student is banned from campuses and has withdrawn from the school system.
Tuesday, the Jackson County Schools superintendent addressed concerned parents. It was a discussion that also involved sheriff's deputies.
Parents brought their concerns about communication.
"We're not asking for detailed information. We just would like basic information about what's going on with our children, and we can't seem to even get that," one parent explained in frustration.
School leaders explained how they handled it, acknowledging claims about a communication breakdown. Superintendent Kevin Dukes said schools have been working on safety, and there may be more to learn from this.
"I'm sure we are going to gain something from this that will make us even stronger," said Dukes.
Parents say the discussion was a good step in the right direction, and a good sign things can move forward in a healthy way. Still, communication is top of mind.
"Moving forward, I would like to see better communication. I understand you can't divulge information, but if there's a threat I think we need to know about it as parents," said Keshia Gardner, a parent of students at Woodville. "We're going through a rough patch right now and it's hard. Emotions are high. And it's unfortunate what happened. But we can grow from it. Woodville is strong, and we're going to come out of this."
Sheriff Chuck Phillips said deputies will be at the school Wednesday, and likely through the rest of the week.
"We will show more presence at Woodville School because of the fear that's in the parents' minds," he said.
Meanwhile, some parents say they would like to find a way to fund another solution that would make them feel even better: getting a school resource officer. But right now there's no money to pay for one.
"Jackson County tried to vote in a one cent sales tax, and part of that money was going to go toward putting SRO's in schools. But that was voted down," he said. "There is no money for SRO's."
"I would love to see SRO's in every school. We need them," commented Gardner.
Sheriff Phillips said there's one more way parents can help during situations like this in the future: "Do not spread rumors," he said. "If you know something, call us. If you want to know something, call us."