Facebook post causes panic in St. James

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 26, 2012

By Lori Lyons
Contributing Writer

ST. JAMES – A potentially threatening post on the social media site Facebook sparked a minor panic among parents of St. James High School students on Thursday, but Sheriff Willy Martin said there were no incidents at the school and students were never in danger.

“Nothing happened at St. James High,” Martin said.

But throughout the day on Thursday, some parents thought something might.  

“Somebody put something on the Facebook and that fired up some people and put a little panic through the parents,” Martin explained. “That started a little run on parents going to the school to pick up their kids from school. We asked the parents to show us the comment, and we were able to identify a person.”

Martin said Jaleel Greenup, 17, of Vacherie, was brought in for questioning. Although he was not charged in Thursday’s incident, he was wanted in connection with an altercation that took place previously. Greenup was booked with rioting and simple battery related to that incident. Extra deputies also were sent to the local schools to help diffuse the situation and reassure parents. No attendance figures were available for Friday, Martin said.

“Maybe some kids wanted a few extra days of Christmas vacation.”

Martin said, understandably, tensions are high in schools and communities throughout the country in the wake of last week’s deadly school shooting in Newtown, Conn., during which a heavily armed gunman killed 20 children and six teachers before killing himself. He also shot and killed his mother, Nancy.

“We know the mood of the public,” Martin said. “It definitely makes you revisit your policies and your procedures in case something like that would happen.”

Martin said he believes the Thursday incident had nothing to do with the Connecticut incident.

“There are some tensions that are always running in the community,” Martin said. “They get on Facebook and make comments on each other.”

Martin added that there was a fist fight between two students at Lutcher on Friday morning. One student was arrested.