Urbana Middle School next school to undergo lockdown

Urbana Middle School next school to undergo lockdown

URBANA – A graffiti message containing a "potential threat" was found by an Urbana Middle School employee in a school bathroom early Thursday afternoon, said John Muirhead, the Urbana school district's spokesman.

The message – discovered between 1 and 2:15 p.m. – has not been released; however, it was said to contain a reference to Virginia Tech, which Muirhead did not deny.

Threatening messages have been found in four area schools since the murders at Virginia Tech.

Such threats were found at Monticello High School on April 19 and May 2. Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School found a threatening message Tuesday. And Oakwood Grade School officials said a message was found there Wednesday.

In Urbana, school staff immediately contacted their school resource officer and then called the police department to the area, he said.

The school called a Code Red, meaning that "students and staff stay in their assigned spots (without) passing of classes," Muirhead said. "It's sort of like a lockdown; you say 'We're all going to stay where we are.'"

School was released at the regular time, and students were sent home with a note for parents from school Principal Nancy Clinton. Afterschool activities and events were canceled.

He said no one was hurt in the school, and students were cooperative with the procedure. "They all reacted in just a very proper and appropriate manner," he said.

Administrators decided that school would resume normally Friday – or almost normally.

"There's going to be more of a police presence than on a normal day," Muirhead said. "We're just trying to do everything we can to assure the safety of the students and staff."

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