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Anderson County Schools

Message From Superintendent Mitchell

Anderson County Parents and Community Members,

In this day and age, when a student makes a threatening statement of any kind, school administrators must take it seriously. We take all threats seriously whether the intent is to harm or to prank, causing disruption and fear - both are unacceptable.  There is no difference in how the investigation is handled.

While we strive to communicate with parents and the community in a timely manner as we react to these situations, our top priority is to secure our students and determine if a weapon or other intent to harm is immediate. We respond quickly; securing the students, investigating, collecting evidence and working to make the determination of who did what and if there was a weapon to follow through with any threat. The determination of whether or not a threat is credible is made by local law enforcement who perform a threat assessment using our investigation input with their own investigation information.

Due to FERPA laws and confidentiality, no student names can be released or disciplinary actions provided. However, rest assured that any student or person who poses a threat in a credible or non-credible manner will be disciplined to the full extent to which we can discipline and reported to law enforcement.

School districts do not charge or determine what charges are brought to students, that responsibility falls on the county attorney and law enforcement. I would like to personally thank local law enforcement* and County Attorney Bobby Jo Lewis for working with us and taking appropriate action to resolve recent incidents and to ensure that everyone understands the severity of these issues.


I know recent events have caused fear but I want to assure you that our staff and local law enforcement responded immediately and effectively and that no weapons were found on grounds at ACHS, ACMS or EBW during these investigations. Regardless, all threats are taken seriously and handled based on our discipline code.

Here at Anderson County Schools we are blessed to serve in a caring and supportive community. Over the last few days I have had the opportunity to speak with many parents and concerned citizens and your passion for our community and the safety of our schools is evident. I thank you all for the prayers, words of encouragement, suggestions and expressed concerns. Please know that I take all of your concerns and suggestions seriously and will bring those to the table as my staff and I continue our ongoing efforts to keep Anderson County Schools safe.

Sheila Mitchell

Superintendent

Anderson County Schools

 

*Local Law Enforcement Officers that responded included: Sheriff Joe Milam, Chief Mike Schell, School Resource Officers Tony Likins and Cody Sloan, KSP Detectives Briscoe, Rogers and Devasher, and several other officers from the AC Sheriff's Dept, Lawrenceburg PD and KSP.

How you can help us moving forward:

  • Explain to your child the seriousness of making threats. Terroristic Threatening in the 2nd Degree is a Class D felony.

  • If you have suggestions that you believe will make our schools safer, please email any school or district administrator so they can bring it to the district safety committee.

  • Volunteer at a school. You can contact our volunteer coordinator LaSaundra Cobb at (502) 839-3754 for more information.

  • Alert school officials of potential threats immediately and please refrain from spreading unsubstantiated information through social media. While understandable, sharing photos or rumors of “what you’ve heard” can actually impede an investigation and make it harder to determine the source of the original threat. 

  • Check your children’s bedrooms, cars, backpacks, cell phones and social media accounts to monitor their safety and well-being.

  • Attend school events with your children and get to know your student’s teachers and administrators. When schools and families work together on behalf of kids, everyone is safer.


Clarifications:

Soft lockdown: In a soft lockdown, all classroom doors and exterior building doors are closed and locked. Visitors are asked to state who they are and the nature of their business when they are buzzed into a building. Students remain in classrooms and are escorted by a staff member if they need to move through the building. ACSchools are always in a semi-soft lockdown during the instructional day. Interior doors are locked and ready to be closed and visitors must be buzzed in. When we call for a soft lockdown, all interior doors are closed and the protocol for escorted interior movement is enacted. Parents may still come to the school to check students out for appointments but should expect a delay in the sign out process. This is a precautionary action and can also be described as a heightened alert. If there were to be a clear and present danger, the school would be on hard lockdown. Schools may go into soft lockdown for a number of reasons including but not limited to:

  • Investigation of a threat or possible threat

  • Drug Dog Sweep

  • External threat in the community not associated with the school

  • Maintenance issues

  • Warnings of possible dangerous inclement weather (Tornados, strong storms, etc..)

Hard lockdown: In a hard lockdown, non-employees are prohibited from entering a district building until the incident that warranted the hard lockdown is resolved. Interior doors are closed and locked and students are instructed to be quiet and remain in a part of the classroom where their visibility through exterior and interior windows is blocked or minimised. Doors are not to be opened for anyone and our staff members only priority during this time is student safety. The hard lockdown will not be lifted until the local law enforcement gives the district the 'all-clear.’ Law Enforcement advise districts to hold off on informing  parents regarding the process for dismissal and parent reunification until the situation is determined to be resolved. 


District Priorities in the Investigation of a Threat:

  • Secure students and building

  • Contact Law Enforcement

  • Begin investigation

  • Communicate with parents about soft or hard lockdown, sharing as much information as possible

  • Continue investigation until resolved

  • Turn over to Law enforcement if warranted

  • Communicate with parents results of investigation. Please be aware that this step may be delayed in order to communicate with parents of students involved and/or at the request of Law Enforcement.


Our Plan Moving Forward:

  • Discuss with students the seriousness of making threats and bringing weapons to school,  and the real world consequences of these actions.  

  • Enforce strict consequences based on our board approved discipline code.

  • Listen to and discuss parent and community suggestions for improving the safety and security of our schools.

  • Audit school implementation of current policies and make improvements based on observations

  • Research improved security measures and create next steps plan for implementation.

  • Continue to work with local law enforcement at our monthly Health and Safety Committee meetings.  

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