2 Blount County Schools placed on lockdown because of unidentified man

MARYVILLE (WATE) – A lockdown at two Blount County schools caused by an unidentified man who tried to access a fifth grade classroom led to concern for many parents.

Betsy Cunningham with Blount County Schools said the man tried to access the Carpenters Elementary classroom around 9:45 a.m. Thursday. She said he then ran towards the woods.

As a precautionary method, Cunningham said both Carpenters Elementary and Middle schools were placed on lockdown. She said the school resumed normal operations at 11:00 a.m.

Nobody has been identified or caught in the incident. Two school resource officers and an undercover officer from the Blount County Sheriff’s Office patrolled both campuses Friday. There are doors to each classroom on the outside of the building.

“Someone in black trying to open a door. That was the only description we were given,” said Principal Katrina Gravitte.

Gravitte says all the appropriate safety measures were taken by staff following the incident.

“I was panicked of course,” said Leah Patton, a mother of two.

“I was nervous at first,” said Christina Hendrix, who has two daughters at the school.

“Well anytime I get a text tells me my son’s school is in lockdown, of course I’m concerned about it,” said Daryl Hadrick, a Carpenters Elementary dad.

After getting the text from the school, they say parents began speculating about what was going on.

“My friends were emailing and texting each other saying someone tried to get into the school,” Hendrix said.

Blount County investigators tracked the intruder to an area not far from the school where they believe whoever it was got into a car.

“I am a mom and I tell you your kids are safe. Our teachers are very aware of their surroundings,” said Principal Gravitte.

“In the time we live in, it’s always a concern because we hear about this stuff more and more. It happens more and more. And I’m a worrywart mom anyway,” Patton said.

If you have more information about who the intruder may be, contact the Blount County Sheriff’s Office.

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