Martinsville police checking threat at West Middle School


Martinsville West Middle School has beefed up security Thursday after someone sent a threatening text.

It's the same school where a student was critically injured in a shooting in March 2011, setting the community on edge. Michael Phelps, now 17, was sentenced to 30 years for shooting Chance Jackson twice in the abdomen over a dispute about a girl. Jackson needed multiple surgeries to repair damaged organs.

Thursday's threat, which was sent to a teacher, led to a school lockdown. The school's superintendent says classes are going on as normal, but students were not allowed to leave the building.

Martinsville officers launched an investigation, assisted "by at least two additional law enforcement agencies," according to a statement from Martinsville Police.

The threats "had been communicated through the use of text messages involving a number of individuals," police said in the statement.

Police notified officials at the Martinsville School District, saying measures have been taken to ensure the safety of all students and faculty members at West Middle.

"I just know the threat was made against students in general. It was very generic. As we take the education of our kids seriously, we take their safety very seriously," said Superintendent Ron Furniss.

Officials are now trying to figure out the source of the threats.

Parents have called the WTHR newsroom saying they heard a gun was brought to school, but Martinsville Police say there is no truth to that report.