Police determine student was unarmed

Published 5:03 pm Friday, February 15, 2013

A police investigation of a possible armed student Friday turned up a phone instead of a gun.

According to a Clanton Police Department press release, officers responded to Clanton Middle School after school officials thought the student might have a gun.

Apparently, the student had a cell phone tucked inside a boot. When another student noticed the bulge, the student in question may have led classmates to believe he had a gun.

Fellow students reported to school officials, who removed the student from the classroom and contacted a CPD officer on campus.

“Clanton Middle School did exactly what they needed to do to handle the alleged threat that turned out to be false,” Clanton Police Chief Brian Stilwell said in a release. “No threats were ever made toward any student or the school. It was a bad joke.”

Chilton County School Superintendent Dave Hayden said claiming to possess a gun at school would be a violation of the system’s conduct policy. Any discipline would hinge on the outcome of an ongoing investigation of exactly what happened, Hayden said.

“We take any potential threats or danger seriously,” Hayden said. “Sometimes, it’s just difficult to sort out.”

No charges have been filed in connection with the incident, Stilwell said.

“With the atmosphere we have today about school shootings, it was a horrible time for this student to allow anyone to believe he brought a gun to school,” he said. “CMS did an exemplary job in handling the situation, and no students or the schools were ever in danger.”

A CPD officer has patrolled the school every day since students returned from winter break, Stilwell said and added that plans are for the department to keep a daily presence there for at least the rest of the school year.