HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - An 18-year-old man has been charged with making a threat on social media against the Lamar County School District.
On Monday the district announced the arrest of Xadrien Watson, who was charged with two counts of violating the Mississippi Terroristic Threats Law. Lamar County Superintendent Tess Smith said Watson was not a current student.
The Lamar County School District Police Department investigated the threat Saturday with assistance from area FBI offices, the US Marshals, Hattiesburg police assigned to the FBI Safe Streets Task Force and the Lamar County Sheriff’s Office.
Watson was located on Broad Street in Hattiesburg, where he was arrested and then booked in the Lamar County Jail. His bond was set at $50,000 for each charge on Monday.
“The Lamar County School District is grateful for the assistance of all agencies who participated in this investigation," the district said in a news release. "We are also thankful to the observant individuals who saw the posts on social media and took the appropriate steps to report it. These incidents are not taken lightly and will be investigated thoroughly and subjects who make these threats will be prosecuted to the fullest extent.”
The Mississippi Terroristic Threats Law went into effect on July 1.
“When I visit campuses, I tell my staff this, ‘if you see something, say something,’ and that’s what we ask our students to do. Thankfully in our last few situations, that is what’s happened. Someone has stood up and said something and said, ‘you know, this is not right,’ and has told someone in authority they felt like could handle it. We’re going to continue to handle these situations to the best of our ability going forward,” said Smith.
Smith added that threats toward schools are unacceptable, and any threat, even if it appears to be a joke, will be taken seriously.
“I feel like we do everything we can to keep parents informed. I very rarely do press releases. I did this one because my goal is to make sure that everyone understands that jokes related to threats to school or to other people, they’re not jokes anymore," said Smith. "We have to take them very, very seriously, and I need parents and students and everyone on the same page to help us ensure that we are continuing to protect our students daily.”