By Mitch Borden
Just after 3:15 pm on Thursday, Midland Independent School District received a tip that a student at Midland High School had pulled out a gun and pointed it at another student. The school was completely locked down by 3:30 pm.
Students, teachers, and faculty sat in darkened classrooms for almost an hour and a half while the police searched the campus, room by room, for the student who they believed was armed. The suspect was located just before 5 pm, but no weapon was found on their person or on the school’s campus.
Rumors started to spread as students texted their parents from school during the lockdown. Local news outlets even reported a claim that hostages had been taken. In reality, there were no hostages, no shots were fired and no one was injured.
Midland ISD police officers eventually found the student they were looking for in a second-floor classroom amongst peers. School officials believe he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and was swept into a random classroom when the school was locked down.
The student was taken into custody by the police but was later released with no charges pending. According to officials, the student had no idea he was the target of law enforcement during the lockdown and was not trying to avoid apprehension. At this time Midland ISD’s Police Chief Arthur Barclay says he believes the tip they received was credible even though a firearm was not found. If it does turn out that the person who reported the incident misled police, that could lead to criminal charges.
Midland High School is one of the oldest in the district and its aging intercom system was not fully functional at the time of the lockdown. School officials say they were aware of this and told local press that the faculty was still able to perform lockdown procedures effectively. Midland ISD’s Chief Operations Officer James Riggins says it would take almost half a million dollars to replace the intercom system, and to upgrade communication and security infrastructure across the district would cost millions. A recent half a billion-dollar bond proposal put forward by the district would have addressed some of these security needs but was rejected by voters.
Midland High School has resumed its normal class schedule. At this time, police are still investigating the incident. The student suspected of having a gun has not been allowed to return to the campus.