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Athens High School finds no threat after Thursday lockdown

The potential weapon initiating a lockdown of Athens High School on Thursday was found to be a vaping device and held no threat of danger to the building.

Athens High School was ordered into a lockdown after a student reported seeing another student carrying what appeared to be a handgun.

Chad Springer, principal of Athens High School, said after the report was made to a staff member, administration determined the identity of the student and requested to search their personal belongings in order to assess the threat. 

After the student refused to comply with administration, Springer made the decision to initiate a “hard lockdown” allowing no individuals to enter or exit the building, Tom Gibbs, superintendent of Athens County School District, said.

Following the search, which was aided by local law enforcement, administration determined the student had no weapon in his possession and there was no threat to the school, Springer said.

“I feel like our high school administration took the report very seriously,” Gibbs said. “(They) responded appropriately, especially when the student refused to search because that's rather suspicious behavior.”

After the lockdown, which lasted around 40 to 45 minutes, Springer said he met with students during lunch to reflect on the situation, communicated with the families of the students to break down morning’s events and discussed the lockdown with various different parties involved.

“(We had) to have that approach to calming student fears, and then I also met with the faculty afterwards to debrief the situation with them,” Springer said. “I spoke to the sheriff's department multiple times to go over our procedures and how we operated (Thursday), and to ultimately look at improving our process.”

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