Threat Leads To Extra Security, Absences At Warren Co. Schools
WARREN COUNTY, Tenn. – A Facebook threat led to heightened security and increased absences at Warren County schools on Thursday.
"We're about educating students and not dealing with threats," Director of Schools, Bobby Cox said. "But unfortunately in the world today we have to do both."
Warren County School officials said they were notified on Wednesday of a Facebook post that threatened violence at Warren County High School. They notified local law enforcement, and extra deputies and police officers were stationed at all schools in McMinnville and the county.
"The post was something to the effect of I have access to weapons and I plan to do harm to others and bring that to the school," Cox explained.
School officials said 2,908 students (approximately 44 percent) were absent Thursday after word of the threat spread throughout the county.
"I only had two class periods where we had a regular day, Freshman Abby Hutchinson said. "The other ones we really just watched movies and stuff because we maybe had six people."
"We want all parents and students to understand that we take these threats of violence very seriously and will make every effort to keep our schools safe," a release from the school system said Thursday. "We would not endanger any student if we did not feel the environment was safe to attend classes and would have closed schools if we felt it was necessary."
The heightened security will be in place again on Friday. School absences are excused on Thursday, however they will be marked unexcused on Friday if a valid reason is not given to the principal.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokesperson Kristin Helm said their Cyber Crime agents are helping in the investigation.
"They are highly trained agents who work on cyber crime, child pornography (and) threats over the internet," Helm explained. "That's what they're trained to do."
As of Thursday evening, the TBI had not identified the source of the post.