BY KEN LITTLE
A 14-year-old was charged Tuesday with filing a false report in connection with a 911 call stating that a student was planning to bring a gun to Chuckey-Doak High School "to do harm to other students," Sheriff Steve Burns said in a news release.
The Chuckey-Doak student remains in the custody of juvenile authorities pending a hearing in Juvenile Court, Sheriff Burns said today.
"We were able to determine the caller himself had actually fabricated the story," Burns said.
"We followed up on the nature of the call, and we were unable to determine [the threat] actually happened. For the most part, we were able to discount this actually happened."
The call came in at 6:25 a.m. Tuesday and prompted a full lockdown at Chuckey-Doak High School, along with modified lockdowns at all county and city schools.
The call was made from the student's home. The juvenile claimed in the 911 call that he overheard another student making the threat, Burns said.
"Based on that call, an extensive investigation was conducted into the potential threat.
"Upon completion, the investigation revealed that the E-911 call was, in fact, a hoax and that there was no actual threat to the students or staff of Chuckey Doak High School," the news release said.
"We were able to backtrack the origin of the call. We were able to determine the bus the caller might be on, and we were able to remove the student from the bus," Burns said.
Chuckey-Doak and the other schools remained in lockdown or modified lockdown status until lunchtime, said Dr. Vicki Kirk, Greene County director of schools.
WON'T BE EXPELLED
The student will not be expelled from school. District officials were considering today the appropriate disciplinary actions to take.
"Once he's released from custody, we will have a meeting with him and his parents to determine the best way to re-integrate him," Kirk said.
Disciplinary options "in general terms" include allowing the student to return to school, giving the student a disciplinary suspension, or placing the student in an alternative program "for a transition period," Kirk said.
Filing a false report is a Class E felony under state law.
ABOUT THE RESPONSE
Kirk was impressed with the response of law enforcement and school system employees to the gun threat. She said proper protocols appear to have been followed.
"My initial assessment is that it went very well. Everyone did as they were supposed to do," Kirk said.
"I am grateful to law enforcement, and everyone at the school, bus drivers and our parents. The students were terrific."
School system officials will meet in the near future for a more detailed assessment of the response to the threat, Kirk said.
"We will always debrief these things when they are over. There will always be areas where we can improve," Kirk said. "We really want to talk about communication strategies."
Exactly why the student made the 911 call has not been determined.
"We don't know why he did it," Burns said.
Burns said he is satisfied with the response of sheriff's deputies and others to the gun threat.
"We feel like it went very well," he said, citing "the assistance and cooperation from the school."
"We were able to [work] together," Burns said.
CITY SCHOOLS SCENARIO
The Greeneville City Schools placed all schools on modified lockdown in response to the report, prompting Greene County Schools to do the same.
Dr. Linda B. Stroud, director of Greeneville City Schools, said Tuesday no threats were made to any Greeneville City school or to city school students.
"We take the safety of our children as our first and foremost responsibility and always will," Stroud said.
A modified lockdown puts teachers and staff in a heightened state of awareness, but does not affect class schedules, as a full lockdown would.
Stroud said that she was in constant communication with Greeneville police Chief Terry Cannon until the matter was resolved.
Kirk said Tuesday that the 911 call "didn't affect other schools, but since the city has decided to [put schools into modified lockdown], we went ahead and did a modified lockdown for other schools, just sort of as a drill."