Plano school locked out after photos show student with rifle fuel fury on social media

Updated at 2:00 p.m. on September 17, 2021 with information from Plano ISD.

Two out of context photos, posted on social media, led to a lockdown of one of the region’s largest high schools on Friday morning.

Police were called to Plano West High School after photos – apparently showing a student holding a gun in the halls of the school – began circulating on Friday.

“Lee Harvey Oswald type beat” said a legend. “So that’s what we’re doing now.”

What looked infamous, however, was a photo of someone participating in Thursday’s JROTC practice, according to Constable Jerry Minton, a public information officer with the Plano Police Department.

In a message to the families, West principal Janis Williams explained that the student was holding a pellet gun used in the JROTC program and that the lockdown occurred “out of caution.”

“When the social media post was reported to our administrators with no context other than the post, we felt compelled to follow up immediately, as the safety of our students and staff is always our number one priority,” reads in Williams’ post. “As a result, the campus was blocked off and the police and district safety and security service responded quickly. “

Plano police responded to multiple calls in the photo once they started scouring social media on Friday morning, Minton said, including one from a student hiding in a bathroom on the Plano campus West.

The lockdown lasted less than an hour, as Plano police and school officials scrambled to find the source of the photo. After the lockdown, the neighborhood launched automated calls to parents to inform them of the incident, according to the school’s PTA.

Almost 2,800 students – all juniors and seniors – attend Plano West Senior Secondary School.

The DMN Education Lab deepens coverage and conversation on pressing education issues critical to the future of North Texas.

The DMN Education Lab is a community-funded journalism initiative, with support from The Beck Group, Bobby and Lottye Lyle, Communities Foundation of Texas, The Dallas Foundation, Dallas Regional Chamber, Deedie Rose, The Meadows Foundation, Solutions Journalism Network , Southern Methodist University and Todd A. Williams Family Foundation. The Dallas Morning News retains full editorial control of Education Lab journalism.

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