03-29 elkhart lockdown-01

A lockdown, following a threat of violence, brought the Anderson County Sheriff's Office to Elkhart High School on Wednesday.

Nearly a dozen Anderson County Sheriff's deputies responded to a threat of violence at Elkhart High School Wednesday morning, as the school, like Palestine High School the day before, went into lockdown.

Lockdown is the practice of locking students and faculty within their classrooms until further notice from police and administration.

Shortly before 10 a.m., Principal Jason Ives discovered an unsigned, hand-written note taped above a water-fountain on campus.

“I'm gonna' shoot up this school. Check your bags before 2:00,” the note read.

Elkhart Superintendent Ray DeSpain ordered the lockdown of over 400 students and faculty after Ives notified him of the situation.

“From our training, best practices advise us that this is the best measure for student and staff safety,” DeSpain said in an open letter to parents and the community, posted on the Elkhart ISD Facebook page.

He added that Elkhart Independent School District staff attend such emergency training twice a year.

DeSpain said the Anderson County Sheriff's Office responded immediately, and that a thorough search of the facility, as well as of all students and their backpacks, was conducted.

The students, he said, were wholly cooperative.

The search concluded at roughly 11 a.m. No weapons or contraband were found.

Authorities declared the school “all-clear” at 11:05 a.m., and the school resumed normal operations.

Although the incident in Elkhart took place only one day after an identical threat situation in Palestine, DeSpain said he has no cause to believe the two episodes are related.

Charlie Hobbs, 37, a single-father of three Elkhart students, said that though he was pleased with the school's response to the event, he thinks parents should have been notified sooner.

“I found out about it from my son, Dakota, who texted me that there was a bomb-threat,” Hobbs told the Herald-Press on Wednesday. “I would've have at least liked to have gotten an automated call as soon as the school went into lockdown.”

DeSpain said that school safety experts advised the ISD to discourage parents from coming to the school during lockdown, in order to prevent further confusion and disruption.

“Please know,” DeSpain said in his open-letter. “Student and staff safety and security is always our top priority.”

The ACSO posted two deputies at the high school campus for the remainder of Wednesday and all day Thursday.

An investigation into the origins of the note is underway.

Recommended for you