JONESBORO, Ark. – A “small incident” at Nettleton Schools on Monday night became a larger scare after incorrect information about a “bomb threat” was circulated on Facebook.
Around 9 PM, NEA Report received messages from multiple parents saying that their girls were at ball practice at Nettleton Junior High School when a police situation began to unfold. A desk sergeant verified to our reporter that police were at the location but were cleared from the scene by about 10 PM.
A school source told NEA Report on Tuesday that he believed “One of the moms lives around there and saw the cops in the parking lot and made an assumption, I guess.”
We interviewed several parents and school officials in an effort to learn how the misinformation spread.
A social media post made earlier in the day had alerted the School Resource Officer of a planned game of hide and seek Monday night at the football field. The game was called “manhunt” – a title that possibly lead to some of the confusion. The game was set to happen around the same time AAU basketball practice was taking place nearby at the fitness center. The group of students went to the football field but the SRO was waiting, a Nettleton source told me. The officer was eventually assisted by several other officers.
While this is happening, the female basketball practice was concluding at this time. One of the parents present, asking us for anonymity, said the coach’s wife said police were everywhere and not to let the kids go out of the building without an adult. Our anonymous parent went outside and said she found the coach’s wife talking to an officer in a patrol car. She said she was told they had to get off of the premises from a “credible threat.” She said she was even told it was a “bomb threat” by the coach’s wife but was later told, in a text by the coach, that this was a mistaken assumption.
At this time, the officer exited the car, the parent told us, and instructed everyone still in the building to hurry and exit.
“…so maybe not a bomb threat but I think it has to be something more than kid’s playing on a football field for him to tell our girls he was making sure they got to the car safe and quick.”
Dana Synergy is a parent of Nettleton students and was one of several parents who reached out to NEA Report on Monday. She told us her daughter had been at basketball practice when police showed up. Her daughter was frightened. Dana looked for answers as she worried about her daughter. She, too, heard it was a “bomb threat.” She posted about it on Facebook.
It didn’t take long for someone at Nettleton to reach out to her, then.
“I spoke with someone who said it was a “misunderstanding,” Dana said. “Unfortunately, I was not there personally. My daughter was and told me repeatedly that the officials were shaken up and running. They were told there was a bomb threat. I was told by an official there was not an actual bomb threat.”
But for Dana, she has previous similar frustrations with Nettleton. She said they’ve not been forthcoming in the past with releasing news about threats. She described one threat where a student was suspended due to SnapChat posts but said the parents never heard anything.
“Maybe I’m opinionated or a little over the top, but they like to hide stuff,” Dana said. “My daughter, as well as others, and the coaches were all saying the same thing. According to the SRO they were clearing the football field at the time because of people goofing off on it. So, why were cops there for so long and so many of them? Why allow the students and coaches to run frantically and tell them to go and not return when they’re there with permission?”
While some of her concerns and questions may be answered by explanations we’ve outlined above, a Nettleton official said they wanted to be certain before releasing information in instances like this.