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GBI probes suspicious package delivered to middle school
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A suspicious package delivered to Dawson County Middle School last week prompted administrators to err on the side of caution and immediately notify the local authorities.

School superintendent Damon Gibbs said there were numerous extenuating circumstances that appeared irregular and out of the ordinary regarding the package that was delivered on Thursday.

"The person who delivered the package was not a postal worker. There were no clear markings on the package. It was wrapped in brown paper and a lot of brown tape, and it was supposedly sent from a post office in Jordan, overseas," he said. "There was just a lot of uncertainty."

The suspicion prompted school officials to isolate students and staff away from the package that was turned over to a school resource officer and the Dawson County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff's spokesman Capt. Tony Wooten said the school's front office was placed in lockdown with all teachers and staff moved away from the administrative hallway.

"School busses were arriving and parents were arriving to pick up their kids, so basically, I made the decision to remove the package to a location," he said.

The package was transported in a patrol car to a wooded area off Burt Creek Road, where it was x-rayed by agents with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

"Nobody knew what was in that package and it was a situation that's at a school," Wooten said. "It's not something you take lightly when you have a package that is suspicious around kids and staff."

When the x-ray did not reveal the contents, agents used explosive equipment to open the package, according to Wooten.

It was determined that the package contained books a teacher had ordered off Amazon.

"With Amazon, you just don't know where they're coming from," Gibbs said.

School officials later learned why the package wasn't delivered by a postal service employee.

"It had been mistakenly delivered to the [Dawson County] library, and someone with the library brought it to the school," Gibbs said.

The school system notified parents of the situation through its email messaging system Thursday night.

"Our belief every day is the safety of our students comes first," he said. "We acted in a way we felt was in the safety of our students."