Social media threats led to 'soft lockdown' at Niota Elementary Thursday, charges pending
An online argument led to a soft lockdown at Niota Elementary School Thursday.
McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy said a student showed a school resource officer some social media posts where several people had been arguing and threatening each other. Some of the threats were directed at the student.
“Deputy McClendon notified the principal, and she and other officers went searching for the person who made the threat, who appeared to be a 16-year-old home school student,” Sheriff Guy said. “There was no threat at the school. The Principal placed the building on a 'soft lockdown' while the officers were working on the case.”
McMinn County's director of schools said during a 'soft lockdown,' students are kept inside the school and do not go outside for recess.
“It was simply a precaution and only lasted about an hour. The deputies quickly located the young man who made the online comment at his residence, and we went back to a normal school day," Director of Schools Lee Parkinson explained.
Sheriff Guy said the juvenile who made the threats will face charges, but it is possible others could also be charged.
“We are also looking at other individuals who were engaged in the online exchange, and others may be charged as well," Sheriff Guy added.
The sheriff's office and school system said they take threats against students and schools seriously.
“We won’t tolerate any threats,” Sheriff Guy said. “If you make even the slightest indication of harm to a student or a school, we are coming to your door. We are not going to let idle threats disrupt our schools.”