Alleged school threat occurred in midst of security plan update

An incident involving alleged threats against the safety of East Feliciana High School last week came during an effort to update the School Board’s crisis response plan, board members learned Tuesday.

The board’s Safety Committee met last Tuesday to discuss the plan, and the incident happened the next day, committee Chairman Rufus Nesbitt said.

Superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr. said a meeting of law enforcement officers was planned for 9:30 p.m. last Wednesday, but the report of a possible threat against the school was made shortly before 8 a.m. that day.

State Police arrested a 17-year-old student and booked him on a count of terrorizing after school administrators, law enforcement officers and firefighters searched the Jackson School Complex for a bomb without finding anything.

Lewis said the law enforcement meeting was postponed, but the incident likely will add to the discussion on Thursday.

Nesbitt said some “kinks” in the plan need to be examined, but he and Lewis praised all the people who responded for making the school evacuation run smoothly.

The high school and Jackson Elementary School are in the same building, and Lewis said the elementary teachers did such a good job in keeping the children calm that “you would have thought they were on a field trip, visiting the vocational school.”

The state school next door is an evacuation point for the elementary school children.

Other topics covered during Tuesday’s meeting included:

THIRTEENTH CHECK: Finance Committee Chairman Richard Terrell said a “13th check” will be issued to eligible employees with the regular February payroll, but the amount will be reduced to a total of $200,000.

The funds come from sales and property taxes dedicated to employee salaries. Last year, the board spent a total of $600,000 on the extra check, which forced the system into deficit spending.

This year, the board also is using $400,000 from the dedicated fund to pay employee benefits, including insurance premiums and retirement increases.

The amount of each check will vary, depending on the employee’s regular salary.