Regional School Unit 73 is back to normal after three Jay schools went into lockdown this morning when authorities received a report there was someone in Spruce Mountain Middle School with a gun.

School Superintendent Kenneth Healey said at 11:50 a.m. that the report now is believed to have been a hoax.

Jay police Chief Richard Caton IV said police are investigating the incident and have identified a couple of suspects.

“It is still ongoing and I’m hoping that we’ll be wrapping it up here either tonight or tomorrow if we can get charges,” Caton said at 2:15 p.m. Wednesday.

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Department received a call around 8:30 a.m. reporting a person with a gun at the middle school, according to Healey.

Jay police called both the middle school and Spruce Mountain High School to notify them of the situation and those schools were placed in lockdown mode, meaning no one could enter the buildings, he said. As a precaution, Spruce Mountain Elementary School also was placed under lockdown, Healey said.


At the time, students were being taken by bus to school an hour late because of professional development activities, so those who had not yet arrived at the schools were kept on the bus and ultimately taken to Spruce Mountain Primary School in Livermore, he said. The entrance to the high school was blocked so that students driving to school were unable to enter.

“We searched both schools and they concluded it was a hoax, and the district was out of lockdown as of 10:50 a.m.,” Healey said. “We are continuing on with our school day, and they will continue investigating the matter.”

Healey said the school district has a safety committee that includes local law enforcement and fire officials, and the district has been proactive in planning and practicing for what to do in such emergencies.

“We’ve practiced this quite a bit,” Healey said. “In fact, the first day for teachers (Aug. 28), we had trained for an active shooter situation, so it’s fresh in their minds. The professionalism of everyone involved, I’m very proud of, especially the outside agencies that supported us.”

Caton agreed with Healey that everyone worked well together to handle the situation.

“It went really well,” he said. “I’m just glad it was a prank call, not a real call,” he said.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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