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The Great Smoky Mountain Journal

Source:  WVLT

Posted: Tuesday, January 01, 2019 02:35 PM

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Three Oak Ridge Students Charged With Making Threats In Manner Of Two Days

 A Robertsville Middle School student was expelled and charged after allegedly making a threat during a moment of silence at the school Thursday. Another two students were charged Friday in separate incidents, one from the same middle school and one from Oak Ridge High School.

On Thursday, at around 9:59 a.m., the Oak Ridge Police Department responded to Robertsville Middle School where they had received a report of a student threat. Police said the alleged threat came during a moment of silence for the victims of the Florida school shooting on Feb. 14.

On Friday, just after 11 a.m., ORPD responded to the school again in response to a 12-year-old student who allegedly threatened another student through social media. The student was transported to the juvenile court judge in Anderson County after police obtained a juvenile summons for charges of assault and harassment.

Just after 3 p.m. Friday, ORPD responded to Oak Ridge High School on a different report of a student threat. A 15-year-old student was taken from class to speak with officers, who learned the suspect allegedly made verbal threats to another student that he was going to "shoot up the school" and would "shoot her first." Officers obtained a juvenile summons for charges of assault and harassment, and the student was taken to appear before a juvenile court judge in Anderson County.

According to ORPD, the 13-year-old male student from Thursday's incident was removed from class immediately and taken to the principal's office, where to officers interviewed him. The student admitted that he had said he was going to "shoot up the school," but he apologized and told officers he was joking and did not mean the threat.

Officers also interviewed a parent of the student, who said the student did not have access to any firearms at home.

School officials worked with ORPD to quickly send a Skylert notice to parents of students at the school to make them aware of the investigation.

The student was expelled from the school and released to a parent.

ORPD consulted the juvenile prosecutor in the District Attorney's office and obtained a juvenile summons for charges of harassment and disruption of a gathering. Officers went to the student's home, placed him under arrest and transported him to appear before the juvenile court judge.

On Thursday afternoon, ORPD said the student faces an additional charge of false reporting, which is a felony. Police said the student was being transferred to the Richard L. Bean Juvenile Service Center in Knoxville.

"Especially in today’s environment, school safety and security are paramount," ORPD Chief James Akagi said. "We take any threat or potential threat to students and school staff seriously. We will always respond aggressively the these threats and take proactive measures to ensure the safety of our students, our teachers and our community."