NEW CARLISLE – A 13-year-old New Prairie Middle School student has been arrested on suspicion of felony intimidation after an alleged threat she made caused the school to be put on lockout Friday.
Throughout the weekend, La Porte County Sheriff's Deputy Paul Adams – the New Prairie United School Corporation School resource officer – investigated the threat, which also resulted in late dismissal at the middle school, according to the sheriff's department.
On Saturday afternoon, Adams received information related to the investigation and conducted an interview, which led to the identity of a suspect, according to the sheriff's department.
On Sunday afternoon, Adams "conducted an interview with the suspect and her parents. Following the interview, he arrested the 13-year-old female New Prairie Middle School student for Intimidation, a Level 6 felony," Capt. Derek Allen said in a statement from the sheriff's department.
The investigation is ongoing, and the middle school returned to a normal academic schedule on Monday.
The incident started Thursday night, when an NPMS student received a text message from a number the student did not recognize, which included a direct threat to the safety and security of the school, Allen said in a statement Friday.
By mid-afternoon, the content of the text began to circulate among other students, he said. A school official was eventually made aware of the threat and as a result, the New Prairie United School Corp. opted to place the middle school on a “lockout.”
"After confirming the existence of a concerning text threatening student safety, the middle school went on a lockout protocol which included searching all students as a precaution," New Prairie United School Corporation Supt. Paul White said in a statement. "An explosives K-9 dog also searched the building. Nothing of concern was found during either search and the building is secure."
The sheriff’s department investigated the threat throughout the day Friday with additional law enforcement personnel, along with deputies, present in all the buildings within the school corporation.
White said Sunday's arrest "resolves the situation," and allowed the school to return to its "normal academic schedule on Monday."
Assisting in the investigation were Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent; Indiana State Police troopers, the La Porte County Drug Task Force, St. Joseph County Police Department, South Bend Police Department and New Carlisle Police Department.
A systemic dismissal at the middle school occurred Friday, and by 4:15 p.m. all students were either reunited with parents/guardians or had boarded a school bus, according to the sheriff’s department.
By late Friday afternoon, Deputy Bobby Greer and his explosives K-9 Argo had swept and secured the middle school.