Lockdown lifted at Mills Middle and High Schools in Little Rock after threats called in

Mills Middle students sent home at 1 p.m., district says

Law enforcement officers stand outside mills Middle School in Little Rock during a school-wide lockdown after calls threatening violence at the school on Thursday, March 30, 2023 (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Stephen Swofford)
Law enforcement officers stand outside mills Middle School in Little Rock during a school-wide lockdown after calls threatening violence at the school on Thursday, March 30, 2023 (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Stephen Swofford)


Mills Middle and Mills High Schools in Little Rock were put on lockdown for roughly two hours Thursday after two calls were made threatening a shooting.

The incident began with an initial phone call at 9:30 a.m., and ended around 12:15 p.m. according to Jessica Duff, executive director of communications for the Pulaski County Special School District.

Duff said the calls were made to Mills Middle School’s front office.

After the first call, the second came around 10:12 a.m.

“There was a threat made against the school in general, that someone was going to come to the school within the hour,” Duff said. “We immediately contacted our [School Resource Officer] that shares both schools, Mills Middle and Mills High, and they came over [from Mills High].”

The resource officer then contacted the Pulaski County Sheriff’s office to request units be sent to the campuses.

In a video posted on the County Sheriff’s Facebook page, Duff said authorities arrived on the scene within 20 to 25 minutes after they were notified.

Duff told reporters that, during the second call, the caller requested to talk to the person they spoke to the first time. When that person didn’t come to the phone, they hung up and immediately called back at 10:13 a.m.

Duff said the office waited for a Resource Officer to come to the front office.

By 10:20, Mills Middle was put on lockdown and Mills High followed within five minutes.

“We typically do that because of the proximity of these two schools and the fact that they share the same name,” Duff said.

The school district reported the lockdown on social media at 10:28 a.m., requesting that “No one should come to the school” and that police were on their way.

Both Pulaski County Sheriff’s officers and Arkansas State Police units were on the scene.

A spokesperson for the Sheriff’s office said the threat came from off campus and that the department was investigating the source.

At 11:03, the district tweeted that the lockdown was still in place and that “students and staff are safe.”

Around 11:45 a.m., three deputies were outside Mills High while two department vehicles blocked the entrance of the middle school.

Mills High’s lockdown was lifted at 12:15, when it was determined there was “no continuing threat” to it, according to Duff.

Mills Middle began the process of sending students home at 1 p.m.

The early release was due to “law enforcement [feeling] that, in order to facilitate the investigation, they need to have the school empty,” Duff said.

The scare came three days after a mass shooting occurred at The Covenant School, a private Presbyterian parochial school in Nashville, where six people—three children and three staff members—were killed.

At almost the exact same time the Mills schools were placed on lockdown, Forsyth Tech Community College in North Carolina was locked down due to an active shooter alert that turned out to be unfounded.