MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — After investigating two false threats against schools earlier this week, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office is looking into an apparent school threat shared via Snapchat.
The sheriff’s office said a picture of a phone screen showed a message related to a threat to commit a school shooting.
The School Resource Officer Division and the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System (CMCSS) are actively investigating. However, the message does not indicate any particular state, city, or school.
“This amounts to a typed version of a “swatting” false call as was mentioned in our previous media release,” the sheriff’s office said in an email.
Investigators said they currently do not know if the message is recent and shared directly with anyone in the CMCSS or just a random picture found and shared on Snapchat.
According to the sheriff’s office, deputies and CMCSS personnel have not found anything to confirm this a credible threat to the school system.
In addition, officials said they discovered the image was being distributed and investigated in other states and jurisdictions.
While Montgomery County authorities have deemed the threat noncredible, they said school campuses would have an increased law enforcement presence on Friday, May 5 amid the ongoing investigation.
In response to the various school threats reported in Clarksville and Montgomery County over the past few days, Montgomery County Sheriff John S. Fuson shared the following message with the community Friday:
“Over the past week, Montgomery County has experienced a substantial increase in threats of school violence. Our local law enforcement agencies have responded quickly and have followed up with an increase in the law enforcement presence at our schools while continuing to conduct investigations on these threats.
However, none of the school threats reported this week had any validity to them. The threats to the schools on the Rossview campus were found to be false, with no actual threat identified. The threats shared over social media were investigated and found to be non-credible. In some cases, it was found that the images shared were not recent, nor did they specify a specific location for the threat. Some of these images were found to be shared in other states across the nation. Other investigations revealed that images that were shared were old or originated in other cities, although the school acronym was the same as our own schools.
It is important that images of social media threats are not shared across communities. The sharing of screen captures of social media-based threats can cause an increase in panic across our community and make it more difficult for law enforcement to investigate because it makes it more difficult to pinpoint the origins of the image. We request that any concerns regarding social media threats or texts should be reported to law enforcement. You may do so by submitting a tip through our website at www.mcsotn.org and using the School Threat Form. You may also submit a tip through the MoCoInfo App using the Submit a Tip feature.
These threats via phone and the internet, commonly referred to as ‘Swatting,’ have proven to be a detriment to the day-to-day operations of our schools as well as creating a state of panic in our community. ‘Swatting’ references the action of making a false report of a serious emergency so that law enforcement and public safety resources will respond to a location wherein the public may experience fear, panic, or disrupted local resources. We can all help to avoid feeding into the panic by refraining from sharing and posting these threats on public platforms, especially while it is still being investigated.
Our law enforcement officers will remain ever vigilant in the safety and protection of the children in our schools, after all, they are our kids too.”