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Updated: Schools on alert following threat

Ironton City Schools were on lockdown and all other schools were on heightened alert Friday following a threat made toward the high school Thursday.

Superintendent Dean Nance said officials were alerted by a Florida man Thursday afternoon that an anonymous threat concerning the high school had been made on an Internet site.

The threat indicated that there was going to be a shooting at noon at the high school.

“We attempted to seek out the message on the blog and it had been removed,” Nance said. “We tried to contact the administrators of the blog and they denied response so we’re working with the police and we have an investigation through the Federal Bureau of Investigation to try to get the origin of the blog or the message and try to identify the IP address so that if it indeed exists, we can hold the person responsible.”

During the lockdown, all exterior and classroom doors were locked and law enforcement was on hand at the school.

All other schools in the county were put on heightened alert because of the threat, Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless said.

“We’ve kind of put a security measure together trying to make sure everyone’s safe,” he said.

Bill Dressel, federal programs coordinator and curriculum director, defended the district’s decision not to close schools.

“We feel the action we took was adequate and we feel like we have not put people in an unsafe position,” he said.

He also thanked the sheriff’s office and police department for their help.

Security features at the new high school were especially important Friday, Dressel said.

“I think everyone in this building feels much more safe,” Dressel said referring to the facility’s numerous cameras and automated locks on school doors.

The lockdown will end when school lets out Friday, but Dressel said safety is always a priority.

“We always know that safety in this day and time is of the utmost importance,” he said. “You can’t let your guard down.”