KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Parents got a chance Thursday to voice their concerns and ask questions after several threats were reported at some West Knox County schools recently. Karen Carson, a school board member, organized the community meeting at Farragut High School’s library on Thursday in response to the threats.
Seven threats were made to several schools in West Knox County since February 25, according to the school system. Some were deemed not credible by law enforcement.
Related story: Hardin Valley Academy closed Thursday due to threat
The response to each situation has differed at times. Hardin Valley Academy was closed last week after school officials found a threat written on the girls’ bathroom wall. A 16-year-old girl was charged. Farragut High School was put on lockdown on Tuesday after a threat was found on the boys’ bathroom wall. Deputies arrested a 16 year old boy in this case.
“These incidents are examined and responded to on a case-by-case basis. I cannot provide any additional information, as it could compromise our security protocols. We do work in partnership with law enforcement and take their advice and recommendations regarding response,” Melissa Tindell, a Knox County Schools spokeswoman said.
Some parents are on edge and said there needs to be more communication.
“You’re getting texts from your kids before you get any information from the school, so that’s alarming as a parent,” Melissa Martin, a parent said.
Martin’s daughter is a freshman at Farragut High School. They’ve had four threats reported to them in the last month.
“My ultimate hope is that we don’t have to talk about this again, you know, that there is resolution. The realistic part of me knows if not this, there will be other issues to come up,” School Board Member Karen Carson.
In response to concerns from parents over these threats, Carson organized a community meeting.
“Now is the time to let parents know to talk to your kids and teachers, talk to the kids about how very serious this is and why you don’t want to do this,” Carson said.
School administrators wouldn’t go into specifics about security measures in place. However, they did talk about how a lockdown works and how they treat every threat seriously.
“I do appreciate the opportunity to get some answers of what’s been going on and to know the county does have policies in place to hopefully circumvent this in the future,” Martin said.
Parents like Martin and students in the crowd said they would like to be clued in more when a situation comes up.
“We don’t know anything and so how safe can we be if we don’t know what’s going on,” Viktoria Ohstrom, a Farragut High student said.
Still, school administrators said student safety is their top priority. Parents are hoping this is the last they hear of the threats.
“I really want to make sure that the person is caught and that there’s not going to be any threat of danger for my child at school,” Martin said.
School administrators reminded parents and students there is an anonymous text line. Students can text their message to CRIMES or 274637 and it will go to the school system and law enforcement. One of the ways the school system is trying to let more people know about this will be by putting it on every school’s website.