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Gering schools take extra precautions
December 27, 2012 Jerry Purvis   

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Last Friday, the final day of school before the Christmas break, was different for Gering students – their schools were in “lockout” mode.

Gering Schools Superintendent explained that lockout means students may move about the building as usual. Only the exterior doors are locked, restricting outside access.

Hague said the school was contacted by police concerning an alleged non-specific threat about the end of the world, made by a male student in the VALTS school program.

VALTS staff contacted Scottsbluff Police on Dec. 19 about the alleged threat, which was made last April. They said the matter had been dealt with internally, with the juvenile remaining in the program and returning to school for the fall semester.

Gering and Scottsbluff Police Departments opened investigations by contacting and interviewing the juvenile male suspect on Friday morning, Dec. 21.

The juvenile and his family were cooperative with law enforcement officers throughout the investigation. It was revealed that while some statements were made, they didn’t include the shooting of anyone and no specific locations were identified as targets.

Gering Public Schools, along with VALTS and Community Christian School, implemented the lockout as a precaution on Friday.

“With what’s going on in the country in the last week and so many people being on edge, we thought it was probably the best way to respond,” Hague said. “Our intent was to keep our buildings as safe as possible.”

Hague added that some parents, especially those of elementary and junior high students, opted to keep their children home the final day of school. But the routine at the high school was much the same, as students were taking their finals that morning.
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