• Deputies: 8th grader suspended after confessing to writing hit list

    By: Ken Lemon


    LINCOLN CO. - UPDATE at 1:40 p.m. Thursday: Deputies have identified the student behind the possible hit list at a Lincoln County school.

    Officials said a 15-year-old 8th grade student confessed to writing the note and has been suspended from West Lincoln Middle School.

    Officials said a second list with 18 names was found Thursday in the girl's bathroom at the school.

    The student was said to be an 11-year-old girl who confessed to writing the note and leaving it in the bathroom to get attention, officials said. She is a sixth-grade student at the school.

    Officials said they handled the situation internally.

    Heather Ford brought her child to school at West Lincoln Middle Wednesday, confident sheriff's deputies would keep him safe.

    "I feel like if there's gonna be enough security he'll be safer," she said.

    Dina Barkley, also had concerns about dropping off her children.

    "It was hard for me to drop them off," she said.  "But just pray, that's all you can do is pray about it."

    Concerns rose after a piece of paper with the words 'hit list' on it, and students’ names, was found in a boy's bathroom on a urinal Tuesday. A student found it and gave it to a teacher.

    Lincoln County sheriff's deputies were on campus all afternoon on Tuesday. They returned Wednesday to interview students and patrol the hallways.

    Detective Tim Johnson said no one is sure if the note was just a prank, but that doesn't matter at this point.

    "We always take it serious. We don't ever know what the person who wrote it is thinking," he said.   Deputies would not say how many names were on the list.  

    Johnson has a grandchild of his own who attends the school. He said all the students whose names appear on the list were interviewed, along with their parents Tuesday night.

    "I think we were out until about one in the morning. We need to find out who wrote this," Johnson said.

    Sheriff's deputies have also studied surveillance video from hallway cameras hoping to identify the culprit.

    The Lincoln County school district did not answer Channel 9's questions about the incident, citing the ongoing investigation. The district did notify parents through an automated call Tuesday night.

    Channel 9 learned that only high schools in Lincoln County employ school resource officers, middle schools do not.  Deputies said the issue has been discussed, but there are no immediate plans to expand the resource officers program.

    Parents said they expected a lot of absences Wednesday, but school officials would not comment on attendance numbers for the day.

    Deputies hope students will speak up about whoever wrote the note.  They believe kids will naturally talk about it, and teachers are also tuned in to listen.

    Whoever is responsible could face a charge of communicating threats, which would be handled in family court.

    Channel 9 previously reported a 14-year-old was charged at the same school for a similar incident in 2008.

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