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Twitter threat locks down school

Mary Hinds maryhinds@lebanondemocrat.com • Updated Jul 26, 2013 at 9:59 PM

Police and school officials placed Lebanon High School early Friday afternoon after a threat of violence against the school was found on a social media site.

"In a soft lockdown, no one can leave the building or come in, but people can move inside the building," said Wilson County Director of Schools Mike Davis. "The school resource officer found out about the threat that was seen on Twitter and moved for the lockdown."

Davis said the threat involved something violent, involving firearms, was going to happen at the school on Friday perhaps during a planned pep rally.

"Law enforcement is trying to run this down and identify whoever made the threat," Davis said.

He said a recent incident in Warren County this week, when a Facebook post was made threatening violence at the local high school, could be the inspiration for Friday's threats. In that incident, the sender claimed to have access to guns and made threats specific to the high school in McMinnville.

Lebanon police Chief Scott Bowen said he had information county school officials were looking into threats, but no one notified his department there was a potential problem.

"We're there helping now," Bowen said Friday afternoon during the lockdown. "We've heard there has been talk for a couple of weeks that something was going to happen."

He said since Lebanon High School is in the city, his department would be called if something did happen, and should have been called if anyone even thought an incident was possible at the school.

"Today, we were notified because the threat was a specific one about the high school and the pep rally," Bowen said. "The pep rally was cancelled, and the students were kept in their classrooms."

The Bowen since the school is part of his responsibilities, the sooner his department is informed, the safer everyone will be.

"We had parents calling us about the lockdown before we were alerted. This is in my city, where we patrol," Bowen said. "If something happens, it's our responsibility."

The lockdown ended with the end of school on Friday. Speaking after school was dismissed on Friday, Davis said other school activities would proceed as normal Friday evening, and he didn't think the threat was viable.

"There are no cancelations that I know of," he said.

Davis said everyone needed to remain calm, something easier said than done for parents and officials in a post-Newtown, Conn. shooting incident world.

"We don't need to overreact and let law enforcement and school officials do their jobs," Davis said. "Whoever did this will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. You can't just make threats and walk away."

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