Caney Valley Middle School, Locust Grove suspend classes following threats; a rising pattern

RAMONA, Okla. - Two Oklahoma school systems are choosing to forego classes Friday after districts received threats against students.

Caney Valley Middle School in Ramona and Locust Grove Public Schools both issued statements Thursday regarding the precaution.

Authorities arrested two middle school students Thursday concerning the threat in Ramona, said Superintendent Rick Peters. Peters said the students spoke of harming classmates on Friday.

Ramona police chief Adam Walker said the students are 7th or 8th grade boys. No weapons were found, Walker said.

"One student actually overheard them talking out on the football field and one of them actually made a threat to that student and felt the need to go tell the principal," he said.

School administrators met with local law enforcement to evaluate current security measures, Peters said, adding they will continue to do so over Christmas break.

"As superintendent, I feel the safety of our students and staff is the upmost and paramount priority," Peters said. " Caney Valley School District will do everything in our power to continue to ensure a safe environment."

Both students were charged with making terrorist threats. One student was released to his parents and is under house arrest. The other is in police custody and is being held on $100,000 bond.

Bethany Simpkins, an aspiring teacher working at the grocery in Ramona, called the threat disgusting.

"After what happened in Bartlesville and also what happened in Connecticut, it's really shock[ing] and makes me very worried and disgusted and I don't know why they would want to do that after everything that has happened," she said.

Locust Grove superintendent David Cash said the district received "numerous unsubstantiated rumors" of possible Friday attacks.

"In the interest of the safety of all Locust Grove students Locust Grove Public Schools will begin the holiday break one day early at the end of the day Thursday, December 20, 2012," Cash said in a release. "Our students and their safety are always our main concern."

No Locust Grove arrests have been announced.

Ponca City police arrested a 14-year-old student Thursday for allegedly making threats, to which he reportedly admitted.

School is still slated for Friday, however.

In a letter to parents, district superintendent David Pennington said he and the police believe the schools are safe, but have agreed to provide extra police for the rest of the week.

"We did it because we hoped that in the light of the incident at Sandy Hook, all the discussion about the end of the world because of the Mayan calendar, and the incident last Friday at Bartlesville , that an increased police presence would offer some reassurance to our parents, students and staff.

Bartlesville Public Schools, 30 minutes north of Ramona, has experienced several issues with security in recent days.

Sammie Chavez, 18, was arrested Friday morning for apparent threats against classmates. A search warrant of Chavez' home uncovered a .22-caliber rifle, swords and incriminating notes, according to court documents.

Chavez was arrested the morning of the tragic slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, Conn. that resulted in 26 dead, including 20 children.

Bartlesville also suspended classes Wednesday after the school system received reports of two men on school grounds with a possible weapon. Authorities believe the suspects may have been duck hunting, but school officials decided to err on the side of caution.

Addressing the growing trend of school threats and violence, Okla. Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb hosted a press conference in Oklahoma City Thursday announcing the creation of the Oklahoma Commission on School Security.

Lamb said its purpose will be "to assess and re-assess" the safety protocols of state schools. The commission is expected to take form sometime after the New Year.

2NEWS reporter Max Resnik is en route to Ramona and will have more for you as these stories continue to unfold.

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