“This is a very rare occurrence for our district, but I was extremely pleased with the effectiveness of our emergency operations procedure,” Thompson said in a written statement Monday.

According to a press release from the administration:

“Monday morning ... a student found a grenade lying on the ground on the secondary school campus at Era ISD. Students on the entire campus were evacuated completely away from the affected area, and local law enforcement was contacted.

“Law enforcement officers determined that the grenade was a dud, and as such, posed no threat to the safety of students and teachers. Law enforcement officials removed the grenade, and then conducted a visual search of the campus and found nothing else. After it was determined that the campus was safe, students were allowed to return to their regular class schedules.”

An investigation is currently underway to determine the person who may have brought the empty grenade to school, Thompson said.

In an interview Tuesday, Thompson said the grenade was an empty variety, likely purchased at a surplus store. It did have a handle and pin intact, he said.

“In this case, fortunately, there was no use of the grenade to threaten people — we simply found the grenade on the ground, and reacted to it as if it were live,” Thompson said. “We evacuated students and faculty away from the potentially dangerous area, contacted local law enforcement, and were prepared to initiate an early release of students, if necessary.”

He continued: “In general, however, we have emergency operations procedures — including lockdowns and full campus evacuations — in the unfortunate event that we encounter a serious threat to the safety of our students. Student and faculty safety is our primary concern, so we plan to err on the side of caution in such cases.”

If it were a student who left the grenade on campus, he or she could face expulsion or alternative education arrangements. Pages 14, 15 and 16 of the Era ISD Student Code of Conduct prescribes mandatory expulsion for a student who brings a weapon to school, including, guns, bombs, explosive charges or grenades.

State and federal law require a student to be expelled from the regular classroom for a period of at least one calendar year for bringing a firearm, as defined by federal law, to school, Thompson noted.

Reporter Andy Hogue may be contacted at andyhoguegdr@ntin.net

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