“It's scary when something like that happens,” said Penny Scott, a mother and PTO president at Lakeside Middle School. “Unfortunately, it's something we've seen like that happen across the states.”
It started Wednesday when a message appeared on a girls' bathroom. It said "Lakeside you have one day until I come. If I were you, I would have no students at school. There will be a shooting. Die."
The school principal told the school resource officer. By Thursday morning, police made a show of force alongside extra vigilant teachers.
“They had law enforcement there,” said Scott, who brought her children to class late because of doctors’ appointments. “I wasn't uncomfortable bringing my kids to school. I felt like they were doing everything that they could to ensure their safety.”
Alerts went out by phone, email, text and social media.
By mid-afternoon Thursday, police arrested an 11-year-old student. A new round of alerts went out, with superintendent Shawn Cook saying the student admitted to leaving the message.
But then Friday, another message appeared on a bathroom door in the high school across the road.
Police quickly called it a copycat and arrested a 14-year-old. That student faces a terroristic threatening charge.
“I just kind of feel sorry for the children that did this because I'm not sure that they understand the severity of what they did,” said Scott.
"The last two days have been very disturbing,” Cook said. “The safety of our students is our top priority. Many times when students are caught they will say ‘it was a joke’ or ‘they didn't really mean it.’ However, we treat all threats very seriously and such threats will have severe consequences, including the involvement of law enforcement.”
Cook emplored parents to discuss those consequences with their kids in his last round of alerts after the second arrest.
“It's happening every day in every school,” said Scott. “Unfortunately, we have to take every one of these things serious and we have to look into it.”
There were 166 children absent from the middle school on Thursday with an additional 82 pulled from class after the alert went out. School officials said that’s well above normal. Police are still determining what charges the 11-year-old will face for that first message.