KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Following the arrest of three juveniles related to separate school threats made against school campuses within Knox County Schools this week, a look at KCS policies set by the Board of Education can offer some insight.
Knox County Schools Board of Education publishes its policies and procedures on the school district website. Topics pertaining to students covering misbehavior, procedural due process, interrogation and searches, random searches for dangerous weapons, drugs and drug paraphernalia, weapons and dangerous instruments, zero tolerance and more are approved each year by the board.
Per these policies, the school district has a set of established procedures for students who are believed to have violated set rules. These intervention responses and disciplinary actions are listed in KCS’s “Misbehaviors and Disciplinary Options” under Code J-191 on the policies page.
A summary of the J-191 policy that lists recommended disciplinary actions states “when students are disruptive or act inappropriately, school staff and principals are expected to respond logically, appropriately, and consistently to ensure a safe orderly school environment for all students.”
According to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, five separate in-school threats had come in within the last week that prompted the arrest of three juveniles by the KCSO Juvenile Crimes Unit. The sheriff’s office said Thursday that juveniles at Powell High School, Gibbs High School and Halls Middle School were each arrested on bomb threat charges and charges of “Threats of Mass Violence.”
Additional investigations are underway at Farragut High School and Carter High School for weapons threats, KSCO said.
The KCS Discipline Guidelines include levels of possible responses to inappropriate behavior, as well as definitions of the behaviors.
A bomb threat is defined in the guideline as “intentionally making a false report of potential harm from bomb, dynamite, explosive or arson-causing device.” There are two classes of threats listed in the guideline; a Class 1 Threat is defined in the guideline as “a verbal, written, electronic or gestured threat to cause harm to students or school staff. The threat must be one that would cause a person to reasonably fear bodily injury.” A Class 2 Threat is defined as “a verbal, written, or electronic threat to cause harm to students and staff in which evidence exists that a student has a specific, credible plan to cause harm to staff or students. The threat must be one that would cause a person to reasonably fear bodily injury.”
The recommended disciplinary actions for these behaviors include out-of-school suspension for either under 10 days or over 10 days. Additional guidelines state that “a student may be suspended for off-campus criminal behavior that results in the student being legally charged with an offense that would be classified as a felony if the student was charged as an adult or if adjudicated delinquent for an offense that would be classified as a felony if the student was an adult, or if the student was convicted of a felony, and the student’s continued presence in school poses a danger to persons or property or disrupts the education process.”
Details on the juveniles’ arrests were not available.