No weapons found during Oak Glen lockdown

NEW CUMBERLAND, W.Va. — Students at Oak Glen high and middle schools were placed on lockdown just as class was about to begin Thursday following a report of a student who may have brought a gun to school.

Hancock County 911 dispatchers received a call around 6:35 a.m. from a woman who stated that she saw what appeared to be a child with a handgun walking in the area of a bus stop. Hancock County sheriff deputies, school resource officers, West Virginia State Police and the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) converged on both schools immediately.

The sheriff’s office said there were two buses carrying students from both buildings and two bus stops in the area of where the call was made. The call came from Chester, according to Superintendent Tim Woodward.

Woodward said officials first tried to divert the buses from the area where the call was made, but later they learned the person in question may have been a student who had already gotten on one of the buses.

“So that obviously throws us into a whole different level of alert at that point,” he said.

Woodward said students arrived at schools and were met by officials, teachers and other resource officers who advised them of the situation, directed them into their classrooms and placed them in code yellow. Students were to remain in their classrooms with teachers until they received further instructions from officials.

Interviews were conducted with the students, including those from the two stops in question, while officials searched the students’ book bags, as well as the buses in question.

After an extensive search, no weapon was found, and authorities lifted the lockdown and cleared the scene.

“When a call like this comes in, you have to take all precautions because you don’t know what you could be walking into,” Sheriff Ralph Fletcher said in a statement. “Our officers and the other agencies involved handled this situation in a timely manner and made sure that everyone was safe.”

According to Woodward, two notifications were sent to parents advising them of the situation. The first was shortly after students arrived, based on what information was available, and the second came after the search was ended and the lockdown was lifted. A third notification, which summarized the events, was to be sent to parents that evening.

Woodward said that some still-concerned parents did arrive at the school to pick up their children, while other students remained to finish the day. He added the students remained calm through the incident and were in no threat of danger.

“At that point, I feel the parents need to make that decision about what’s the best interest of their child,” Woodward said. “They know their child emotionally and all that kind of stuff better than obviously we do, so I think the parents need to make that decision.”

Fletcher also addressed rumors that had circulated around social media that a shooting had taken place at the schools, which he stated were false.

“I understand that there were a lot of things being said on social media and unfortunately things can get misconstrued,” Fletcher said. “There was not a shooting at either school. No shots were fired by anyone involved. There was no evidence of a firearm found, and that’s the best news we can receive, everyone is safe.”

Woodward said that following the lockdown, the day went on without any further incident.