All doors to Culver’s schools were locked Wednesday after a middle school student allegedly threatened other middle school students. School district officials told families to expect another lockout all day Thursday.

School staff found out about the threat Tuesday afternoon and contacted parents of the student who allegedly made the verbal threat as well as parents of those who were threatened, according to letters posted on Culver School District’s website signed by Superintendent Stefanie Garber on Wednesday. She wrote that law enforcement was called immediately.

Garber wrote that Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies are investigating the validity of that threat alongside school administrators, guidance counselors and the district’s special education director.

The student who made the threat was in mental health custody Wednesday, and there was not a plan for the student’s release that day, Garber wrote.

In the letters, Garber explains that in a lockout, classes are held like normal, but all exterior doors are locked to prevent people from walking into the building. Law enforcement was also present Wednesday and were expected to return to campus during the second lockout day Thursday, she wrote.

“We understand that in informing our community of this threat we run the risk of giving the student who made the threat the attention they seek or other students copying this behavior,” Garber wrote Wednesday. “However, we felt it was important to communicate with our parents about this situation this morning.”

In an interview Wednesday afternoon, Garber said planning for a second day of locking Culver’s doors was “an extreme move of caution for families.” She said the reason for a second lockout day was because there was not yet a plan in place for when the middle school student who allegedly made the threat would be released from mental health custody.

“Once we know that protocol, we’ll move accordingly,” Garber said. “But until it’s known, it’s just to be extra safe.”

Garber noted that the three Culver schools, which all share one campus, had locked all exterior doors except the front entrance doors every day for security reasons since January.

Garber said students and staff were “fantastic” in responding to the lockout Wednesday and that they were prepared due to drills.

“It went without a hitch today,” she said. “It’s unfortunate that we have to practice these things.”

Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins said Wednesday afternoon he and his deputies are investigating the legitimacy of the student’s threat.

“We’re taking it seriously,” he said. “You’ve got to be careful with these things, just to make sure.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7854, jhogan@bendbulletin.com

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