WILSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Outside Wilson Central High School are warning signs alerting of the laws against weapons on campus.
“We have confiscated a gun out of a locker, we’ve had one report where someone had a gun at a school,” said Lt. Scott Moore of the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office.
Lt. Moore said those two incidents from 2013 and 2016 are the only ones of guns confiscated on campus in the past few years.
“We’ve got to do everything within our power to make sure that we prosecute those cases and make a point that if you do this, there’s going to be severe consequences you’ll have to pay,” said Lt. Moore.
Some Middle Tennessee districts show few to no guns found on campus in recent years, like Cheatham and Wilson counties.
But at Metro Nashville Public Schools, district data shows anywhere from five to nine guns found on campus each year since 2013.
That number soared to 13 for the 2018-2019 school year.
Around that time, Wilson County Schools also saw reported school threats more than double.
“In 2018, we had 27 threats, if you remember the Parkland threat shooting,” said Lt. Moore. “Probably about 80 to 85-percent involved a threat using a firearm of some sort.”
Lt. Moore said following mass school shootings like Parkland, Florida, a rise in reported threats usually follow.
“We were very aggressive in our approach. A couple of things we came up with to try to investigate those threats, how to prosecute those,” he said.
Since 2018, the department has taken a zero-tolerance approach to school threats and guns.
Even for threats deemed non-credible, the department said it will still press charges.
“We’re charging these students with false reports, which in most cases is a Class D felony,” said Lt. Moore. “Once we started to do that, and word started to get out, we saw a dramatic increase in the amount of threats because we’re going to prosecute them.”
Lt. Moore said looking foward, it’s hard to prevent threats from happening, so law enforcement and schools must be more vigilant than ever.
“I just sent an email to the whole division not to be complacent,” said Lt. Moore. “We’re not going to tolerate it. we’re going to do what we can to provide a safe atmosphere and we’re going to use every resource we have. As soon as we get information of a student putting a threat out, we’re going to prosecute it to the best ability we can.”
To report guns on campus or school-related threats, Wilson County Schools has an online reporting system on the district website. Click here for more.
Several other districts have adopted the “Stop It” app.
You can report anonymously through all of these systems.