From the moment the teacher saw the grenade proper protocol was followed. The teacher notified Elementary Principal Jay Arrington. When he contacted Principal Burris, Burris carried the grenade outside and away from the children. “I just knew I had to get it away from the children,” Burris said. They began implementing a crisis plan, evacuating students to a safe location on the campus. “Once a protocol is started, it is up to law enforcement to stop it,” Burris said.
Upon contacting the superintendent’s office, Jimmy Dell Hancock contacted the Sheriff’s Office and a lockdown of the school was initiated. Hancock said, “The students were safer where they were than if the parents had picked them up. The first objective is to ensure the safety of the students.” Hancock said he contacted Robert Laird, Director of Safety and Order and Tom Burnham, State Superintendent, in an effort to follow procedures.
Sheriff Charlie Crumpton contacted the Bomb Detection Unit with the Mississippi Highway Patrol. MHP officer, Lee Jordan, brought Vador, the canine trained to alert to any explosive. Vador alerted when presented with the grenade and the bomb squad was contacted.
The Clinton Police Department Bomb Squad arrived on scene at 11 a.m., almost three hours into the ordeal. After asking everyone to move back away from the location of the grenade, they wasted no time verifying the grenade was not an active explosive and posed no threat.
Sheriff Crumpton said, “This had the potential to be a bad problem, but it was handled in the right way.”
There was never any doubt exhibited from any of the authorities on the scene, that any ill intent was involved with the incident. According to Superintendent Hancock the grenade was brought from home.
Both the student and parents were in the office being questioned by Principal Burris during the lockdown and investigation. Their identities were not released.
Principal Burris confirmed the student and his sister, a sixth grader, were sent home. “They are good kids and we don’t want to stigmatize them for the future,” he said. He expects the students to return to school. “They saw no harm.”
The grenade was confiscated and removed from the scene, according to Burris.