Parents furious about rumored hit list; some students taken out of school

More than a dozen concerned parents were at Marshall County High School on Monday demanding answers about a rumored "hit list."

Superintendent Trent Lovett says he wants to let parents know everything that’s going on, but he legally can’t because it has to do with another student. So, he says he told them as much as he could.

Lovett says a pocketknife was found in a student’s backpack on Tuesday. The knife was confiscated and the student was given in-school detention.

While in detention on Friday, Lovett says the student sent a message to friends using Kik Messenger, a cell phone app that allows you to text friends anonymously. The message says, in part: "The person who did this to me is going to pay." This was shown to administrators, and Lovett says the student was punished for making a threat.

Lovett says that same day, another student came forward with information about a list. That student told administrators that he and the student who made the threat were joking around in class last year about a list. He said he never saw it, but he did remember a few names mentioned. He told the school that those students knew about it, but Lovett says no one they talked to actually saw a list. It was all talk.

"We have followed up on every lead, and I can assure you that we have handled this situation to the maximum that we possibly can," says Lovett.

Lovett says if a student makes a threat, the protocol is to suspend them from school pending a disciplinary hearing and a mental evaluation. However, Lovett says he can’t confirm or deny if that happened to the student in this situation.

Some of the parents I spoke with after the unplanned meeting were furious, saying the school isn’t doing enough to protect their children. Tonya Copeland says she afraid for her child’s safety.

"I wanted to hopefully get some answers, and I was hoping that I would have felt better. But I don’t, and I’m not sending her to school until I know it’s safe for her to be here," says Copeland.

Copeland says she wants to know if the student who’s accused of writing the rumored list is going to be back at school. She says if he is, her child won’t be.

Tonia Allen is also a parent at the school, and she says she trusts that administrators are doing all the right things.

"What I understand is that the child is a minor, so they can’t go into great detail," says Allen. "But, from the phone calls and the messages that I got Friday and last night, and then after being here, I do feel confident that they’ve taken all actions that they can legally take."

Lovett says they interviewed multiple people and found no concrete evidence that any list existed, but he tells parents he will continue to investigate.

Copeland says her child will be staying far away from school until the situation gets resolved.

"I don’t feel that we should have to send our kids to school when it’s still under investigation," says Copeland.

If you have any information regarding the rumored "hit list," you can call the school or the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department.

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