NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) has launched an investigation after false calls about active shooters at numerous high schools around the state were made to local authorities.
Officials with the TBI said they are working with state and federal partners to identify the source of these calls.
The TBI shared the news about this investigation on social media within an hour of announcements from two Middle Tennessee schools about fake shooting calls.
On Wednesday, May 3, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and the Clarksville Police Department said authorities responded to a 911 call about four students being shot inside a classroom at Rossview High School shortly before 9:30 a.m.
Officials said two school resource officers were already at Rossview High, adding there were no indications such an incident was happening.
The school was reportedly put under lockdown while law enforcement searched the school, but they determined it was clear by approximately 9:42 a.m., so the lockdown was lifted.
“As a reminder, per state law, an individual can be charged for recklessly, by any means of communication, threatening to commit an act of mass violence on school property or at a school-related activity. Additionally, the Student Code of Conduct was updated this school year to make credible threats a Zero Tolerance Offense (mandatory calendar-year expulsion),” Clarksville-Montgomery County School System officials explained in a statement. “In several cases, students have made threatening statements they claimed were jokes. Making a threat is not a joke, and the consequences are serious.”
This news comes one day after a report of a student with a gun led to a lockdown at Rossview Elementary School and a lockout at Rossview Middle and High schools. However, officials said they did not find any threats and could not corroborate the initial report from Tuesday, May 2.
Even though Wednesday’s call was also false, the sheriff’s office confirmed it will “continue to vigorously investigate this call as we have with prior threats made against our schools.”
Meanwhile, Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet School sent a message to parents Wednesday morning saying officers from the Metro Nashville Police Department would be in the building as a precaution due to a call authorities received from an out-of-state phone about shots being fired at the school.
Just like with Rossview High, officials said they determined there was no threat or danger at MLK Magnet School.
This appears to be a situation that has affected many schools across the country. There have been numerous reports of schools or police departments receiving internet-based phone calls with these threats, which are unsubstantiated.
While this is believed to be a hoax, we understand the anxiety a situation like this can cause for our families, students, staff, and community. Please know that our top priority is the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff. We take any and all reports of potential threats seriously, and we are making every effort to maintain an environment where students and staff feel safe.
We would like to continue to encourage our students and school community to report anything that could constitute a threat to school safety. As always, we work closely with local law enforcement to assist in these situations.Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet School
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The Tennessee Department of Homeland Security confirmed the hoax calls are affecting multiple schools in different counties across the Volunteer State.
According to the Maury County Fire Department, authorities were handling one of these incidents at Columbia Central High School Wednesday morning, adding that they hadn’t found any victims and the call appeared to be false.
Since there was no active shooter, Maury County Public Schools said all schools will dismiss at the regular time, but any parents who want to pick up their kids from Columbia Central High will need to report to Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
The Savannah Police Department said it is also investigating a “concerning telephone call” it received about Hardin County High School, which is believed to be connected to the school threat issue across the state.
The director of Hardin County Schools, Michael Davis, assured parents that all students were safe and the call was a hoax. In addition, he said the call — which did not come from a local number — claimed the shooter had already been on campus.
“There was no threat that something would be happening later, and no truth that there had been someone at the school threatening students’ safety,” Davis stated.
Police have reportedly been in touch with school officials, the Hardin County Sheriff’s Department, the TBI, and the FBI. While the Hardin County school system is not under lockdown, extra law enforcement personnel have been stationed in each school as a precaution.
Hardin County school officials said they also learned about a “swatting call” in Murfreesboro, with police receiving a 911 call about an armed student at Rockvale High School who had shot six people. The dispatcher reportedly described the voice as sounding electronic or robotic, but said it responded to questions.
Meanwhile, according to reports from East Tennessee officials and News 2’s sister stations, WJHL and WATE, law enforcement has responded to active shooter calls and threats at a number of schools, including Tennessee High School in Bristol, Science Hill High School in Johnson City, Dobyns-Bennett High School in Kingsport, Greeneville Middle and High School in Greeneville, Jefferson County High School in Jefferson County, Central High School in Knoxville, Morristown West High School in Hamblen County, and Brainerd High School in Chattanooga.
However, none of the reports have been deemed credible, with the TBI saying, “there is no known immediate threat to public safety at this time.”
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This is a developing story. WKRN News 2 will continue to update this article as new information becomes available.