Education

Threats to Kentucky schools follow shootings at Marshall County High School

Emergency crews responded to a bomb threat at Frederick Douglass High School Wednesday afternoon.
Emergency crews responded to a bomb threat at Frederick Douglass High School Wednesday afternoon. Herald-Leader

Several school districts in Kentucky on Thursday were investigating threats or perceived threats and some juveniles were in police custody following Tuesday’s shooting at Marshall County High School .

The Kentucky School Boards Association in a media roundup reported three incidents from Western Kentucky school districts since two students were killed, 14 others were shot and four more were injured in the chaos at Marshall County High School Tuesday.

A 15-year-old has been charged in the shooting. He fired the weapon seemingly randomly, discarded it and returned to another classroom where he talked with others as if nothing had happened, a student in that classroom said.

Police in Hodgenville were notified about a student who made a threat involving LaRue County High School, the News-Enterprise of Elizabethtown reported. Police officials said in a Facebook post that the matter is being addressed and officers were at the school Thursday to ease parents’ fears.

The police department said officials were notified late Wednesday afternoon of a student who allegedly made a threat. The school district described the threatening statement as “stemming from a conversation about the situation in Marshall County.”

The Madisonville Messenger reported that two local juveniles were in police custody after a social media threat against both Hopkins County high schools turned out to be a hoax.

Just before midnight Wednesday, a Snapchat user sent out a threatening message, the newspaper reported.

WPSD-TV in Paducah reported that two local sheriff’s offices were investigating reports of threats made against local schools.

An investigation about a threat at Calloway County High School found that the threat was not credible and a 14-year-old student was charged with falsely reporting an incident, WPSD reported

The Livingston County Sheriff’s Office is also investigating a reported threat made against a Livingston County school. The threat said there was going to be a shooting at a school on Thursday. The sheriff’s office said it was still working to trace the threat to its source, the station’s website said.

A statement on the Henry County public schools website said that on Wednesday two students were overheard making comments regarding violence at the high school. Although the comments were not direct threats of violence against the school, the two students were detained at the high school and then suspended. The students were subsequently taken into law enforcement custody.

Local law enforcement chose to provide a police presence at the high school to relieve any lingering fears parents and students may have had following social media posts about the incident, the statement said.

A student was arrested at Powell County High School Thursday after threatening to bring a gun to the school Friday and shoot up the school. The student also jabbed a pencil into another student’s side but did not break the skin, according to a Facebook post by the school district. The school system notified parents about the incidents via a telephone call

In southeastern Kentucky, there was increased law enforcement presence at Floyd Central High School in Floyd County on Thursday morning after a Facebook post on Wednesday night mentioned that someone may have made a threat to the school, Floyd Sheriff John Hunt told the Herald-Leader. But as of early Thursday afternoon, Hunt said, officers had determined that the threat was not credible.

Meanwhile in Fayette County, following Wednesday bomb threats at Tates Creek and Frederick Douglass high schools, district officials told parents that following a full inspection of those school campuses, “with the assistance of bomb-sniffing dogs, law enforcement officials have determined” that the buildings were safe for occupancy. “There was no evidence to suggest that there was ever a credible threat,” district officials said.

"We need to be smarter" about how we protect students and teachers, Gov. Matt Bevin said Thursday, but the solution isn't yet clear. Bevin addressed new school-safety legislation while touring the Recovery For Men Hope Center in Lexington.

Four Marshall County High School students describe the shootings that killed two classmates and injured 18 others.

Herald-Leader staff writer Karla Ward contributed to this report. Valarie Honeycutt Spears: 859-231-3409, @vhspears

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