Update: Student arrested after threat caused lockdown at 2 schools

The person accused of calling in a threat at a middle school earlier this week has been identified and is facing charges, Tuscaloosa County District Attorney Hays Webb said Thursday.

That call on Tuesday to Eastwood Middle School alongside a social media post resulted in an afternoon lockdown at Eastwood and the nearby Paul W. Bryant High School.

And the punishment won’t be light, Webb said.

“A terrorist threat is a crime in this state,” he said. “It is a terrible problem.”

Tuscaloosa City Schools said they determined the caller was a student attempting a prank. Now, they’re learning that actions have consequences.

“Kids often don’t have the same appreciation of the meaning behind an action,” Webb said. “Sometimes the students are doing it purposefully, otherwise I think it’s just their immature brains now recognizing the consequences as of that statement.”

Webb said he can’t speak to any specific ongoing case, but when something like this happens, the impacts spread beyond school walls.

“Everybody is most concerned about their children and the safety of their children,” he said.  “If you have a threat, there’s an effect on students, on their parents, on the school day. It’s very disruptive. You also have a response from law enforcement that is redirecting sources there and not on the street.”

TCS sent out a news release Thursday saying disciplinary action taken against the student will remain confidential.

Webb said making threats like this is a serious crime that can result in major consequences, no matter the person’s age.

“I would expect arrest by law enforcement, a period of detention in the juvenile detention facility, a case then proceeding over there,” Webb said. “It could wind up with anything from a consent decree to being sent to kiddie prison depending on the circumstances related to the charge. I think that if anyone is making these sorts of threats they should be located and prosecuted.”

On Thursday, students at Eastwood Middle participated in a safety check at the beginning of the day.

All students were debriefed on the cause of the lockdown and steps students can take to help keep the school safe.

Read more:

Two Tuscaloosa schools are locked down after receiving threats: Sept. 15, 2022

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