A call came to Ridgeland High School soon after 11 a.m. Wednesday, warning that someone was going to shoot the place up.
"What's your name?" asked Glen Brown, principal of the Rossville, Ga., school.
The response was jumbled, he said. But he could parcel out a name, sort of. The answer sounded similar to one of the school's students: 18-year-old Annabelle Emma Herbert. Brown said he took the threat seriously, but his gut told him this call was a hoax.
It was the fourth one that morning. All the calls featured someone who sounded young. And the callers tried to put on a fake accent. The first three had given vague but menacing information.
"This was more along the lines of high school nonsense," he said.
Brown interviewed Herbert on Wednesday, and he said she admitted helping orchestrate the calls. The Walker County Sheriff's Office then launched an investigation.
According to an incident report, Herbert used the Kik app on her phone to communicate with people outside the school, who made the calls. Kik is a messaging service, in which users communicate through a username rather than a phone number.
The sheriff's office charged Herbert with terroristic threats, providing terroristic information through an electronic device, and disrupting public schools. Investigators are still tying more people to the case.
"Attempts are being made to identify all who may be involved," Detective Andy Cash said in an email Thursday. "At this time, it is believed that the others who may be involved do not pose a threat to the school."
According to the incident report, Herbert said she wanted someone to call in threats to the school so she could avoid her third- period class. The school's seniors are taking finals this week.
"I hate that this girl did this," Brown said. "I hate all the consequences she's going to face now, over nothing. I mean, over nothing at all. She's a great kid and we absolutely wish her the best and my heart is broken for her. But, unfortunately, there's consequences to your choices."
Brown also sent a message to parents after school Wednesday explaining why the sheriff's office had shown up that day. He said no one called the school with concerns Thursday.
Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @LetsJett.