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Rash of online threats targeting schools has sheriff cracking down

Teens arrested go straight to detention to await day in court
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Posted at 6:17 PM, Aug 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-29 19:32:08-04

MANCHESTER, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nearly every week we learn of another threat against a school, scaring students, terrifying parents and upsetting an entire community.

One middle Tennessee sheriff is sick of it, and the teens caught aren't going home to their parents. They are going to detention.

It is a hard line in Coffee County, where detectives spent the past week tracking down two alarming social media threats targeting schools.

Now, the sheriff has moved quickly to trace the threatening posts and lock up the suspects.

"These words cause a lot of fear and panic," said Coffee County sheriff Chad Partin. To him, enough is enough.

"We've got one young man from Franklin County that's been locked up for over two weeks now. We are talking about an A student, never been in trouble before in his life," Partin said.

But his clean record doesn't matter.

Any teen who makes a social media threat like this one against a school is going to jail to await a day in court.

"Not going home to mommy and daddy," said Sheriff Partin. "I've got a juvenile judge that's not playing."

And making such threats is certainly no game.

Sheriff Parton said there were two in the past week — this one targeted a high school football game.

"If you are going to the coffee pot there will be people from Franklin going and shooting up the game," the threat said.

The sheriff said acting quickly is a priority. His detectives take tips from the public and get federal help to trace social media.

"It took a call to our FBI agents to be involved," Partin said.

To the surprise of both threat suspects, they were quickly tracked and arrested.

"What they don't realize when they do this stuff is we may not get it in the first five minutes, but we will in the first five hours," said Partin.

Of course, these days, every threat is taken seriously. And now, an entire team of detectives is pulled from other assignments to chase down the leads.

Eight detectives worked hours of overtime this past week to locate the suspects.

In addition to prosecuting the teens criminally, the sheriff may now go after the parents' pocketbooks. He plans to begin seeking reimbursement for the money spent investigating these cases.