Bogus message of active shooter at HS Thursday

Some parents of Greene County High School students experienced Thursday the panic other parents have gone through when they hear of an active shooter in the child’s school. Thankfully, the panic was unfounded.

School superintendent Tim Christensen explained that a Greene County student received a text message late in the school day that a specific student was shooting a gun at school. The student who received the message was at the Heart of Iowa Fine Arts Festival in Nevada.

That student sent a text message to his parent. The parent called the school and the school contacted the police.

Christensen said he didn’t think news of the first text message was widely circulated. The district sent a One Notify message to parents about 30 minutes after the original message assuring them there was no active shooter.

Credible students verified to GreeneCountyNewsOnline that most students didn’t know about it. The student in Nevada received the message during a rehearsal and didn’t see it until during a break at 2:30. He called his parents and arrived at the next rehearsal after it had started.

Students are not allowed to use their cell phones during class, and most didn’t know of the text message. According to the students, police didn’t arrive at the school until after the regular dismissal time.

A high school teacher said principal Brian Phillips was at the Fine Arts Festival, and it was another staff person who took the first phone call from the parent. By coincidence, she could see the alleged shooter as she talked on the phone and knew he didn’t have a gun and hadn’t shot one.

When the police responded to the school, they were responding to investigate an alarming bogus message. They were not responding to an active shooter call.

Legal action against the sender of the message will be taken by the police department. The sender, and other students who were involved with the hoax, will face school disciplinary action.

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