Update: This story has been updated to reflect that while there was a report of guns on campus, Natrona County High School staff and law enforcement determined there were no guns present.
Staff and students are safe while two students were placed in police custody following a report of guns Thursday morning at Natrona County High School in Casper.
It was the second reported firearms incident at the school within a week.
At 10:06 a.m., the high school went into “lockout” mode, forbidding building entry and exit, after the reported discovery of guns on campus, the Natrona County School District wrote on its Facebook page.
Police responded “immediately,” and two students were taken into Casper Police Department custody, the post reads. At about 10:45 a.m., the school notified parents that the lockout was over, but the high school would remain in a state of “heightened awareness.”
A third student later was implicated in the incident, the district announced. All three may face discipline according to “extreme behavior” guidelines.
The Dean Morgan Junior High and Park Elementary schools were to remain in heightened awareness as well “out of an abundance of caution,” the notification reads.
The district’s announcement said there was no known safety concern to either the elementary or junior high school, and the heightened awareness, as well as increased law enforcement presence at the schools, were precautionary measures.
The Casper Police Department did not confirm the arrests and said it would update Cowboy State Daily as the situation progressed.
The Natrona County School District publicly thanked the “reporting party” for helping to maintain school safety.
“While this investigation is ongoing, we can identify that no direct threat was made, or guns found, in response to this report,” the district announced Thursday afternoon.
Desirée Tinoco, whose daughter is in ninth grade at the high school, said she was afraid to call or text her daughter “anymore” during the incident because she didn’t know what kind of situation her daughter could be in at that moment.
“It’s just a waiting game now,” said Tinoco.
Tinoco was concerned about the school’s information systems, saying she still hadn’t seen much information on the last reported guns incident, which happened at the same high school Friday.
Last Week’s Gun
Tinoco isn’t the only person who wanted more information about the Friday incident.
Jennifer Zerba, a substitute teacher for the district, approached the school board Monday saying she was not informed of the incident while she was teaching.
“Apparently, substitutes are not part of the public relations communications network,” said Zerba, adding that she learned of the incident from the news.
A student was discovered with a gun at school around noon and taken into law enforcement and school administration custody Friday, the Casper Star-Tribune reported.
The student will be disciplined according to the school’s “extreme behavior” guidelines, the report said.
“I would much rather have heard from our district,” said Zerba. “We have a huge gap in communication for our substitutes to get what they need in order to protect our students.”
Zerba suggested that the human resources staff, which keep a list of substitutes on duty, should communicate with the public relations staff in the future.
Tinoco said Zerba’s account was also worrying, adding that her daughter didn’t know about the Friday incident until Tinoco contacted her.
“And after that, she didn’t hear much from students or teachers about it, but then everything seemed fine, and the day went on as normal,” Tinoco said.
Tinoco said she is grateful that the Casper Police Department keeps one officer at each school in the district and that some districts do not enjoy the same security. But she said more police presence is needed “in today’s world.”
“I don’t want to sound anti-cop,” said Tinoco. “It’s just frustrating when, I don’t think they realize, you have such big gears turning and things get left out.”