Madison County school administrators are providing details on why they decided to shut down the entire school system.
A developing conflict between two employees made them concerned about the safety of students and staff. As part of that isolated conflict, the administration says it had evidence that the second employee may have intended to confront several other employees Monday, and that's why - out of an abundance of caution - the call was made to close schools.
Law enforcement was back at Madison County High School Monday morning canvassing the area, as it did Sunday night. We don't have specifics on the nature of the conflict, but the administration says one employee has filed a criminal complaint against the other.
The administration says, to its knowledge, there was no specific threat of violence or physical harm, but still reason for concern.
Parents say Madison schools made the right call.
"You never know what to expect no more, you really don't. It's sad kind of, but everybody's got to take all of the precautions they can. Your kids are in school and you want them to be able to learn, not to sit at home in fear that something's going to happen to them," said parent Shawn Ward.
According to the school board, the second employee has been formally charged with a crime. The administration has suspended that person from his or her duties and banned the person from school property as the investigation continues.
Madison County Superintendent Matt Eberhardt said to NBC29, in an email, "We will not be publicly disclosing the identity of the employees involved in the developing personal conflict, including the employee that was charged."
Law enforcement will provide an increased presence on school property in the coming days. Schools will reopen Tuesday.
Madison County School Board Press Release
Late Sunday afternoon, school administration became aware of a developing conflict involving two of the division's employees. Because of the nature of that conflict, one employee contacted local law enforcement and filed a criminal complaint against the other employee.
Administration had evidence that the second employee may have intended to confront several employees today. Although to our knowledge the employee made no overt or specific threat of violence or physical harm, administration remained concerned about the safety of employees and the well-being of students in the event of such confrontation.
Because of the threat of possible confrontation made by the second employee and because the precise whereabouts of that employee were unknown, out of an abundance of caution and a desire to maximize student and staff safety, law enforcement recommended that administration close schools today. For the same reasons, administration followed law enforcement's recommendation.
We are advised that the second employee has now been formally charged with a crime. School administration has taken steps to suspend that employee from job duties and has instructed the employee to not return to any school property until administration can fully investigate the events that transpired yesterday.
Furthermore, law enforcement has advised school administration that, based on a number of subsequent events, it knows of no imminent risk of harm to employees or students at this time and it believes schools can be safely opened tomorrow. Out of an abundance of caution, law enforcement will provide an increased presence on school property in the coming days, and administration has taken steps to place school staff on heightened alert.
We apologize for the disruption created by today's closure; however, both law enforcement and school administration are obligated to assess any and all risk, however remote, and make decisions that maximize student and staff safety. We look forward to seeing students and staff back at school tomorrow morning.
UPDATE: Madison County Schools Closed MondayMore>>
Natalie Wilson joined the NBC29 news team as a general assignment reporter in April 2012.Full Story
Natalie Wilson joined the NBC29 news team as a general assignment reporter in April 2012. She is a proud alum of Howard University and is currently pursuing her Master's in Communication at Johns Hopkins. Email/ Full Story
Sign Up for Email Alerts
Sign up to receive NBC29 news and weather updates in your inbox daily.