Blount County parents concerned about recent school threats, arrests

MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - The Blount County Sheriff's Office said Friday it has investigated nine school incidents since February 20. Deputies have arrested five students from William Blount High School, Heritage High School and Union Grove Middle School, charging them with delinquency by false reports.

"It's scary. It's scary for the kids. It's scary for us parents," said Amy Sterling.

Sterling's oldest son goes to William Blount High School. A junior there was arrested Thursday after deputies said she admitted to writing a "hit list" on a bathroom wall.

Sterling's other son stayed home from Carpenters Middle School on Friday because he felt unsafe. The Blount County Sheriff's Office is investigating an incident there, too. It said a draft of a threatening email was found on a school-issued Chromebook.

"It's heartbreaking to know I'm sending him off to a place he doesn't feel safe," she said.

Some moms feel pressured to home school their kids now. Michelle Beeler was considering it. Her son also goes to Carpenters Middle School.

"It's the bullying in these schools that's causing these kids to make these threats," said Beeler.

A 14-year-old Union Grove Middle School student was arrested and charged Wednesday after Blount County deputies said he told other students over the past two weeks that he wanted to shoot someone.

A spokesperson for the Blount County Sheriff's Office said they did not know about the incident until Wednesday. The school system said their administrators had no prior knowledge either and they immediately notified deputies when they learned about it. Deputies said some students had known for two weeks.

The school system said they will apply the strictest consequences under board of education policy to any student who disrupts their schools by making threats. A spokesperson said this behavior will not be tolerated.

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