WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Law enforcement in Williamson County is pleading with parents to talk to their children about the consequences of school threats after a threatening message was posted in a school group chat.

“As someone who investigates student and school threats, I want to make sure you know the risks to your child’s future if they make a threat,” said Detective Raechel Haber with the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office in a PSA posted by the Williamson County School District.

The PSA urges parents to take the time to sit and talk to their students about the seriousness of making school threats.

“Parents, it’s time to have the talk; it’s time to have the talk about school safety,” Haber said while looking straight into the camera.

The reminder comes after a threat was posted against Page High School. The threat was posted on a class group message page. Quickly, administrators, law enforcement, parents, and even students flagged the content.

The sheriff’s office said the threat was not credible.

However, it sparked the need for a conversation that, according to detectives, needs to start at home.

“Making any kind of threat will not only get your child punished at school, but in juvenile court, potentially facing felony charges,” Haber said.

Earlier this year, the district told News 2 that during the last school year, 250 incidents were reported, leading to 45 arrests.

This year, the topic of school threats made its way to the State Capitol.

“There is a new law in Tennessee and any student that makes a threat of mass violence – that’s a threat to two or more people – will be sent to the alternative learning center for 180 days,” explained Haber.

HB 0340 was sponsored by Rep. Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka). During this year’s session, he explained how the bill would revise the “present law that a student must be considered in violation of a zero-tolerance offense and be expelled for not less than one calendar year,” for the following conduct:

  • (1) A student brings to school or is in unauthorized possession on school property of a firearm;
  • (2) A student commits aggravated assault or commits an assault that results in bodily injury upon any teacher, principal, administrator, any other employee of an LEA, or a school resource officer; or
  • (3) A student is in unlawful possession of any drug, including any controlled substance, controlled substance analoge, or legend drug, on school grounds or at a school-sponsored event.
  • (4) A student threatens mass violence, meaning an act which a reasonable person could conclude would lead to serious bodily injury or death of two or more persons, on school property or at a school-related activity.

“If you are somebody who says, ‘I’m going to go shoot up a school,’ or, ‘I’m going to bring a bomb to school,’ that is zero tolerance right now in our schools. We are not going to tolerate that kind of verbiage in our school system and that’s what the amendment does,” Cepicky said during a subcommittee hearing.

The bill was passed and was signed into law by Gov. Bill Lee (R-Tennessee) on April 28.