Coast is clear after Rachel area schools evacuated

·2 min read

May 27—This story has been updated with new information from the superintendent and sheriff.

FAIRMONT — Marion County School officials are preparing to debrief with law enforcement about a threat sent to North Marion High earlier Friday that forced a Code Orange evacuation.

Marion County Sheriff Jimmy Riffle said the school received a threat from a phone number outside Marion County and the sheriff's office is following protocol and taking the threat seriously.

"The school received a phone threat from an out-of-area number," Riffle said. "Precautions were taken to ensure the student's safety which will include a walk-through and a search of the school to make sure it was not a credible threat. Once that's done, normal operations will resume."

Riffle could only confirm that the call came from outside Marion County and could not confirm it was not a West Virginia number.

For the time being, all students are secure and safe.

"MCTC and NMHS are under a Code Orange," Marion County School Superintendent Donna Hage said in a message exchange with The Times West Virginian shortly after the evacuation. "All students are safe and sound. Law enforcement is investigating the matter with MCS."

The Safe Schools Initiative established several color codes that allow officials to communicate when different emergencies happen in a school.

Code Orange implicates an evacuation, Blue is a medical emergency, Purple is student at risk, Yellow is precautionary lockdown, Red is total lockdown.

A witness at the scene said students were evacuated to the NMHS football field and everything seems clear.

"All students and staff remain safe on NMHS campus under a Code Orange at this time. I've been in constant communication with law enforcement and Principal DeVaul," Hage said. "It may take a while to clear NMHS before law enforcement release it back to us.

Hage says buses will use the school's bottom two lots and students will be released at the regular time. Administration will call students from the field by bus number and students drivers will be allowed to leave at the regular time.

Parents picking up students may do so after 3 p.m. No traffic will be allowed on campus after 3 p.m.

This is a developing story.