Boaz Schools Investigate Perceived Gun Threat

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BOAZ, Ala. (WHNT) -- A conversation about gun violence between two high school students caused other classmates to become concerned, and school staff took action.

It was a misunderstanding as the kids were talking about a video game, but superintendent Mark Isley said after the shooting in Newton, Connecticut, school officials are taking seriously any perceived threat.

"We will not take statements lightly and as superintendent my job is to ensure the safety of every student before we educate them," Superintendent Isley said.

"They've got to be safe before we educate them."

Isley said he is concerned about students playing violent videogames, particularly those like Call of Duty: Black Ops II, which has a with the Mature rating for ages 17 and up.

Gamers spent more than $500 million on the game in its first day of release in November, breaking the record set by its predecessor, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

It took just 15 days for sales of the game to exceed $1 billion, and many children play it.

"We were dealing with a situation where students were referring back to a video game and that's a big concern that I have as a superintendent," Isley said.

"The games the students play at such a young age can lead to significant consequence."

Administrators worked with the school resource officer to investigate the comments and determined there was no actual threat to the school, but because the comments made other students feel uncomfortable and unsafe, it was a violation of school policy.

"Anytime that you infringe on another students rights, there are consequences and so in this case [and] it's important that we follow our code of conduct and issue the consequence that follows that violation," Isley said.

"Whether it's what's being said or actions in our schools today, all statements hold some consequence, and it's important kids understand what you say and how you say it."

The school system informed the students of their punishment Wednesday afternoon, but did not release specifics of the punishment since it involves minors.

Isley said the incident helped them review their procedure in reporting perceived threats.

"Our ultimate priority is safety of students," superintendent Isley said.

"Through this process we've been able in some degree to check our own system in relation to our safety plan and ideas and things that come our way.

"We were able to get to a good resolve," he said.