Catoosa County sheriff on school threats: "We have zero tolerance for this"
Law enforcement is devoting all resources to finding the source of school threats. They ask that if you see something, say something.
Security was beefed up at local schools after multiple threats were shared on social media.
Police were stationed at East Ridge, Brainerd and Central High schools Tuesday in response to a threat and determined it was a hoax.
Similar messages have led to at least nine arrests in our area since the Parkland, Florida school shooting last week, three in Catoosa, two in Hamilton County, one in Meigs and three in Bradley County.
READ MORE | 3 arrested for threats in Bradley County
Catoosa County deputies charged a teen Tuesday after a threat on social media went viral Monday afternoon. Student Alexandria Greene is 17 years old and in Georgia that makes her an adult. That's why Channel 3 is sharing her name and photo. Deputies hope her arrest will encourage others to think twice before posting threats on social media.
"As far as the Catoosa County Sheriffs Department is concerned, we have zero tolerance for this," said Catoosa County Sheriff Gary Sisk.
Greene, a Ringgold High School student, is charged with false report of a crime. According to the police report, Greene sent screenshots of threatening Snapchat messages to several students on Monday which stated the person was going to shoot her at school the next day and stated other racial slurs.
Deputies interviewed Greene and say she shared the same story with authorities. Officers then tracked the IP address used to send the threatening messages back to Greene's account.
"This individual made a fake social media account and turned around and made the threat and sent a threat to herself and then she turned around and started sharing it out to a number of other students," said Sheriff Sisk. " We investigate and take all threats seriously, especially when it involves our children."
Sheriff Sisk tells Channel 3 that a Lakeview Middle School student was also charged Tuesday afternoon with making a terroristic threat. Last week another Ringgold High student was charged with that same charge for posting a threat on Snapchat against his school and a coach.
"I hope it stops unfortunately with all incidents that create national media attention usually we always have some form of copycat," said Sheriff Sisk. "Because of social media and such now a days there seems to be so much more of a draw from even smaller individual children that I want this attention, I need this attention or this is what makes me popular. Well, no, it doesn't. This is what's going to put you in jail."
In Hamilton County, a female student is facing charges for warning students at East Ridge, Brainerd, and Central High schools to stay home Tuesday.
Police Chief David Roddy had officers on all three campuses in response. He says the threat was fake, but still caused harm.
"We worked through most of last night, many of us on individual phone calls and asking for that information to be forwarded to us so we can work backwards to figure out where it started from," said Chief David Roddy, Chattanooga Police Dept. "I'm pretty certain that last night you had a large number of parents across our community that were concerned about the safety of their children coming into the school day today. Real or not, the fear was real."
Law enforcement is devoting all resources to finding the source of threats. They ask if you see something to say something.
"If you see something of concern, if you have texts, posts on an Instagram sent to you and it gives you concern, let your parents know," said Chief Roddy.
Officials ask you to report any and all threats to law enforcement by calling the department's tip line. Continuing to share online posts or viral threads via social media, only makes the source more difficult to track down.
"Parents please talk to your children, monitor what they are doing on social media and get a handle on this," said Sheriff Sisk.
While there were more police on campus Tuesday, Fewer students showed up to school. More than 200 East Ridge students were absent Tuesday, which is twice the recent average due to flu.