ANDERSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — On Monday, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office received a call about a possible active shooter at Norris Elementary School. The Norris Police Department and Anderson County Sheriff’s Office responded to the school and later found the threat was false.
“The investigation revealed that we had two middle school students, two males, 14 years old,” Anderson County Sheriff Russell Barker said. “We received a total of two calls, and both claiming were active shooters in Norris Elementary.”
There have been 118 mass shootings in the United States so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Of those, 12 were at schools according to Education Week. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee believes adding additional safety measures could help prevent those situations.
Those two students were taken into custody according to police.
This isn’t the district’s first threat this school year. Greg Deal, the assistant director with Anderson County Schools says the district took several new precautions headed into the 2022-23 school year, like having an SRO on each campus among others.
“In previous years, we have a system-wide threat assessment team and now we have individual school threat assessment teams in which the teams have been trained and all of our administrators have been trained,” Deal said.
Anderson County Schools isn’t the only system adding school safety measures. Governor Bill Lee hopes to have a Department of Homeland Security agent assigned to each district. Recently, the department met with members of Anderson County Schools and the sheriff’s office.
“They personally went around and met with our SROs and we talked about what that relationship looked like moving forward and what they are hoping to achieve,” Sheriff Barker said.
According to both Sheriff Barker and Deal, the sheriff’s office notified the Tennessee Department of Homeland Security about Monday’s threat.
“We have already set up some lines of communication, so if and when we have an issue just like this latest thing, I know the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department contacted the Department of Homeland Security person to inform them of what was going on, so we have another resource that we can use to help us,” Deal said.
Dave Clark, the Anderson County District Attorney General released a statement that said, “I am grateful to the Sheriff’s Department and Anderson County Schools for keeping our children safe, investigating this matter to the point of making an arrest and continuing to explore new ways to make our school buildings secure.”