Security heightened at Warren County schools after online threat - WKRN News 2

Security heightened at Warren County schools after online threat

Posted: Updated: Feb 7, 2013 05:19 PM

Warren County Schools were on high alert Thursday following online threats made against the district Wednesday evening.

The principal at Warren County High School called Director of Schools Bobby Cox around 5 p.m. Wednesday to tell him about the threats.

"A Facebook post that was made, threatening violence at the school in the morning," Cox said Thursday morning.

According to Cox, the sender claimed to have access to guns and made threats specific to the high school located on Pioneer Lane in McMinnville.

The threats were posted on a memorial page for Caitlin Talley, a senior at the high school killed in an automobile crash last October.

Within hours of the posting, countless parents and students had seen or heard about the threats.

"He was going to come kill a bunch of students, like 200 people," said parent Connie Sanders.

Authorities were notified, the threatening post was removed, and all county schools opened as scheduled without a word from administrators.

"From what we've been told by all of the authorities is that notification sometimes heightens panic, you know, increases the likelihood of somebody else doing something," said Cox.

"I disagree," said Sanders. "I think the parents should know, and then, that's up to them. It's their choice whether they think it's serious or not to send their child to school."

More than half the student body was not in school on Thursday after learning about the threats.  Those absences are expected to be excused.

"I'm very concerned because of all the other school shootings," Sanders added. "It really bothers me because I have a 17-year-old there. It really bothers me."

Despite the criticism, school leaders were cautious.

At Warren County High School, there were extra patrols on the streets, more officers in the halls and limited access at the doors.

"We have one entrance where the student will enter. We're checking bags as they come in. We have a principal stationed at every door, so anybody that comes in the building will be looked at heavily and watched," said Cox.

Additional deputies were stationed at all 11 schools in the district, while McMinnville police officers were sent to schools within the city limits.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security are assisting Warren County Sheriff's Office with the investigation.

The online threats were reportedly posted under a fictitious account and/or name.

While the exact source is not yet known, Sheriff Jackie Matheny does not believe the sender is from the local area.

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