The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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March 8, 2013

Security increased at GEHS in response to threat

FAIRLEA — Threats of violence following an off-campus incident involving Greenbrier East students earlier this week led to an increased security presence at the school Friday.

“The situation is under control,” Greenbrier County Associate Superintendent of Schools Doug Clemons said Friday morning.

Security was increased at the Fairlea high school after an off-campus incident eventually escalated into a threat that “something violent” would happen at Greenbrier East on Friday, Clemons confirmed.

“Word of the threat spread across Facebook, Twitter, through texting,” Clemons noted, saying the administration had been investigating the situation and working to ensure there was no danger at the school since first hearing about the incident Tuesday.

“We take every single concern about possible violence on campus seriously,” Clemons said. “We certainly understand parents’ concerns.”

He stated, “The main student in question is not at school today (Friday).”

West Virginia State Police, the Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Department and several municipal police departments helped alleviate security concerns, Clemons said, adding that the school’s security guards and prevention resource officer — a sheriff’s deputy who is regularly assigned to the school — were also assisted Friday by members of the county Board of Education office.

Each school in the county has a buzz-in entry system, which provides another layer of security.

Greenbrier East Principal Jeff Bryant said Friday morning that classes were proceeding as usual.

“Our teachers are being very vigilant and keeping an eye on the hallways,” Bryant said. “It’s going very, very well.”

The principal said he told students in a morning announcement, “Let’s do our best to have a good school day. Teachers, stay vigilant. Students, report anything unusual you see.”

Bryant said he closed the announcement by telling those listening that he cares about them.

Clemons emphasized a similar point, saying, “If we felt there was any chance students would have been compromised by attending classes today, we would have sent out a (message to parents). We felt the students at Greenbrier East would be safe today.”

— E-mail: talvey@register-herald.com

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