A female juvenile was arrested Wednesday in connection with alleged threats to Cumberland Gap High School.
Investigators and officers with the Claiborne County Sheriff’s Office were at both Cumberland Gap High School and HY Livesay Middle School In Harrogate as daylight broke Wednesday morning to secure the premises after some online threats were made, said Sheriff David Ray.
Both schools were carefully searched inside and outside the perimeters and officers were present as the students arrived for school on the buses and as the parents dropped the children off, according to a news release from the CCSO.
Tuesday evening, Claiborne County Director of Schools Connie Holdway notified Ray of the threats made on the social media network from Facebook to cell phone messages among students from Cumberland Gap High School and to some parents, states the release. The threats were advising the students “not to come to school tomorrow, clowns are coming to your school, just giving you a heads up we are shooting it up.”
Ray said, “We take all threats seriously and will not permit students or anyone else to interrupt the education of our children; we will find them and prosecute them.”
According to Ray, he and officers worked on the alleged threats that had been reported through the night and made sure the premises were secure before students arrived at the schools Wednesday morning.
The attendance at HY Livesay was not hindered by the threats, said Ray; however, attendance at Cumberland Gap High School was poor. Many students did not arrive at school on Wednesday morning and several left after hearing about the media rumors.
In addition to the threats to “shoot up the school” there were also rumored sightings of clowns in several places around the area, including clowns with baseball bats at Tuttle’s store on Hwy. 63.
People dressed as clowns have been spotted in different areas throughout the region in different states, with some reportedly trying to lure children into wooded or otherwise dangerous areas. The reported sightings have caused several copycats.
Early Wednesday morning, investigators found through social media that the source of the threats came through a student within the Claiborne County school system who allegedly created a fictitious account via Facebook in attempt to create a lockdown at the Cumberland Gap High School, the release states. Investigators seized electronic devices that led to the swift arrest of a juvenile female.
Ray confirmed that a person of interest had been taken into custody Wednesday morning and was transported to the Claiborne County Justice Center.
She was later charged with disruption of a meeting or procession and a trial date is set for Sept. 28 in the Juvenile Court of Claiborne County.
“The threats were taken seriously and we had a team of officers at Cumberland Gap High School and Livesay to secure the premises,” Ray said. “Nothing was found.”
The student charged is prohibited from returning to the school property with limited internet access and cannot attend any social school events, states the release.
Reach Marisa Anders at 423-254-5588 or on Twitter @newsgirl88.