MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Tenn (WKRN) — As school threats rise in Middle Tennessee, one district is tackling them head-on.
Since the beginning of the 2021 academic year, Clarksville-Montgomery School Resource Officers (SROs) have investigated 22 violent threats across the 39 schools in the district.
School resource officers like Sgt. Bishop Delaney said most of the threats come from social media platforms, where information spreads fast.
“No matter how minor something may be, we take them seriously and vet them and we try to be as thorough as possible,” Sgt. Delaney said. “Ultimately we’re there to protect the kids and keep the kids safe on the day-to-day.”
Once officers receive a report of a threat, they begin a vetting process. Sgt. Delaney said SROs start by identifying the origin. Then they interview staff and students involved and finally determine the credibility of the threat.
In addition to investigating online threats, Clarksville-Montgomery SROs have also confiscated seven weapons this school year, conducted 58 drug investigations and filed 353 charges against students.
Sgt. Delaney said this should serve as a reminder to parents and guardians to stay active in their child’s life.
“You need to know what your kids are doing on their computers. On their phones. You need to know what friends they’re interacting with and what they’re doing in those interactions,” Sgt. Delaney said.
The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office also noted in a press release that effective July 1, 2021 threats of violence, even non-credible ones, on school property are chargeable offenses. This year, seven CMSD students have already been charged with making a threat of violence on school property.
In addition to keeping schools safe, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office says SROs have also contributed more than 800 hours of counseling, support and mentorship to their students this year, too.
“By design, the School Resource Officer Program was implemented to be a resource for our schools and to have two important impacts on a student’s education,” Montgomery Sheriff John Fuson said. “The first impact is to help positively influence and mentor students, and the second is to create a safe learning environment for the facility, students, and staff. Unfortunately, it has become necessary for most SRO Programs, ours included, to focus primarily on safety. It can be challenging to keep our nearly 38,000 students and 5,100 educators and staff safe, but our SRO’s work hard to do exactly that each and every day.”