Iola ISD student searched for gun after old photo posted on social media

Published: Aug. 30, 2019 at 8:31 AM CDT
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Iola ISD is working to put parents at ease after a student's Facebook post sparked an investigation on the second day of school. The district and law enforcement said there is no threat.

Last week a student made a comment about his school with an older photo of him with a handgun. Investigators say on August 22, an old picture of a male student was posted on social media from when he was 9-years-old. The photo that was taken years ago showed the child and an adult shooting in the country with the child holding a pistol. The Facebook post also mentioned the school with the photo.

"It was a young student, had a handgun in the picture and part of the wording on the picture it had the word "school" in it. So we take that stuff very seriously here. As we investigated we found out the picture was a four-year-old picture," said Scott Martindale, Iola ISD Superintendent.

"The picture had a caption that mentioned school. It did not threaten the school whatsoever it just mentioned the school," he explained.

The district and law enforcement said no gun was found after the boy was questioned.

"It took us five minutes to handle this situation and handle it appropriately," said Martindale. "It was before school started. We had two younger students report something to our elementary principal. By 7:55 the elementary principal tracked that student down that had the posting," he added.

"I believe they took the correct action to protect our children," said Danny Lemley, who has two children in the district.

He's also a new school board member and was part of their safety council.

The district recently adopted a guardian plan to arm some staff.

"It was a hard decision to come to that but the times that we’re having now... It seems to be correct with the times that we need to take precautions to guard our children," Lemley said.

While no threat made to the school, the Grimes County Sheriff's Office said there still was a need to investigate.

"The issue was not that the juvenile had a firearm, he was under adult supervision at the time he had the firearm. The sole reason for the investigation was that the comment was made about the school in conjunction with a firearm," said Lt. Daniel Wagnon, with the Grimes County Sheriff's Office.

"That's another sign of our times. We've got to be extra careful on what we post," said Lemley.

The superintendent said Friday the boy will be disciplined according to district policy. Parents and guardians were notified by the district of that incident.

The County Attorney is also reviewing the case. At this time no charges have been filed.