HOMER, Ga. -- Parents of students at Banks County High School say they started getting text messages from their children around 8 a.m. on Friday.
Students told their parents a gunshot had been fired in the school -- and that the school was on lockdown.
"We just knew there was a shooting and a gun at the school," said Misty Williams, the mother of a 14 year old freshman. "So we didn't know if it was an isolated incident or our students were at risk or what was going on."
Williams and her husband Ben were among a large crowd of parents gathered on the road outside the school. As sheriff deputies and GBI agents gathered evidence in the school, parents learned the shooting was self-inflicted.
Investigators say the injured student was alone in a bathroom when it happened. They haven't identified the student; he was airlifted to Grady Hospital with a life-threatening gunshot wound.
"He had friends y'know that were just tore up," said Robert Higginbotham, a sixteen year old tenth grader. "I knew him for a long time." Investigators have not released the identity of the injured student.
"It's an isolated incident. I think a lot of parents were concerned that a gun was unaccounted for in the school. We have located that weapon," said Jesse Maddox of the GBI's Athens office. As a precaution, the GBI sent in a bomb disposal unit while students stayed locked down for the better part of six hours.
Meantime, parents asked about metal detectors. Parents say are in place at Banks Co. High, but rarely used.
"The question is why are these metal detectors not working, and why aren't there metal detectors at all doors?" asked Donna Gibbs, the mother of a ninth grader. "That would have prevented this."
Asked about metals detectors, assistant superintendent Donna Reed said "at this time we'd rather not talk about that. We'll certainly look into it."
The school will reopen Monday and school officials say they'll try to have a normal schedule. They'll have a battery of counselors on hand if the students need them.