KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Hardin Valley Academy was closed Thursday due to a threat, according to a Knox County Schools spokeswoman.
Spokeswoman Melissa Tindell says law enforcement officials are aggressively investigating the threat, which is specific to HVA. They say student safety is a top priority, so they are taking this measure as a precaution. No other information is being made available.
Knox County Schools will be closed Friday for a student holiday. A source says investigators are narrowing in on a suspect or suspects who made the threat at Hardin Valley Academy.
“It’s hard to worry when you’re not really sure about all the facts. But the fact that they closed the school was pretty serious to me,” said Heather Terflinger who has a son at HVA and daughter at Hardin Valley Elementary.
The Knox County School System says when a threat is made at a school, decisions on whether to close or have a lockdown are made on a case-by-case basis and it’s discussed with local law enforcement.
“It’s a different world and it’s very serious. Our world is just a different place,” said Terflinger.
At this point, it’s not clear what the threat is. Parents have many questions.
“The world is full of surprises and we’ve seen a lot of that on the news this week. Even in our high schools in Knox County, Farragut was locked down yesterday,” said Lisa Clapp whose 15 year old son goes to HVA.
Next door to HVA, Hardin Valley Elementary was open because the threat was specific to the high school. But some parents decided not to send their children. On Thursday, 257 students were absent at the elementary school, compared with Wednesday’s attendance when just 30 children weren’t in class.
“I will always be thankful that they closed school three, four, five days a week. I don’t care. Always take the threat serious,” said Terflinger.
While most parents aren’t too worried about sending their children back to school next week, they’re hoping for answers at some point.
“Maybe they will later. Maybe it doesn’t make any difference, maybe we shouldn’t know so that whoever is behind this doesn’t feel like they’ve been justified in what they did,” said Clapp.
According to Knox County Schools’ policy, if it was a student, part of the procedure is having a disciplinary hearing where ultimately the student could face out of school suspension or expulsion, going to alternative schools, or school leaders meet again and deciding on alternative placement.
All of Hardin Valley Academy’s athletic events and group activities were also cancelled on Thursday as a precaution.Previous story:Potential threat puts Farragut High School on lock-down
This is the latest in a series of threats made at Knox County Schools. Farragut High School was briefly put on lockdown Wednesday due to a threat written on a bathroom wall that later turned out to be benign.