Fight, gun rumors at OHS

Rumors that a student might take a gun into Ottumwa High School had students, parents and administrators on edge Friday afternoon.

Ottumwa High School Principal Steve Hanson tells KTVO that staff members became aware of rumors that a student might be bringing a gun to school.

Hanson tells KTVO there have been some students pestering other students over the recent death of freshman Christopher Jacobs.

Hanson says students have been feuding over an argument on a Facebook group in honor of Jacobs. Hanson said students were planning a fight in the cafeteria before school Friday morning.

Friends of that student have become upset by these messages so there was talk of a fight before school today. We were around and adverted any problem before school today, Hanson said.

At lunchtime some started a rumor there was a gun, which is entirely false, and that game some scares to some people whose parents then came to get them and take them out of school, Hanson added.

During lunch a rumor spread quickly that somebody brought a gun to school.

Administrators met with students throughout the day and found the rumors to be a lot of he said, she said with the gun and Hanson called the rumors entirely false.

The High School brought in an additional police officer to help patrol the school. School officials locked the doors of the high school at 1:30 p.m. as a precautionary measure and once students exited the building they were not allowed to reenter.

Hanson says this was not an official lockdown. Parents and visitors could still be escorted into the building.

Hanson estimated more than 50 and as many as 100 concerned parents pulled their students out of school Friday afternoon.

"We hope that students' anxieties will calm down over the weekend and Monday will be a more normal day. We will have a faculty meeting with our staff before school Monday just to discuss some strategies," Hanson said.

Last week, KTVO ran a story reviewing the Ottumwa School District's lockdown policies.

On Monday, KTVO will talk to school administrators and provide more information on Friday TMs incident.