McMinn Co. Sheriff: Home schooler to be charged for threatening 8th grader on social media

The McMinn County Sheriff's Office says a local elementary school student will be charged in juvenile court after an 8th grader was threatened over social media. (Image: MGN)

The McMinn County Sheriff's Office says a home school student will be charged in juvenile court after an 8th grader was threatened over social media.

Sheriff Joe Guy released a statement Friday, saying deputies and school officials responded quickly to an online "argument" Thursday night, in which they say a Niota Elementary student was threatened.

According to Sheriff Guy, SRO Ashley McClendon spoke with the 8th grader that morning. The student showed her social media posts from Wednesday night, where several people had been arguing and threatening each other, some of the threats being directed at the 8th grader.

“Deputy McClendon notified the principal, and she and other officers went searching for the person who made the threat, who appeared to be a 16 year-old home school student,” said Sheriff Guy. “There was no threat at the school. The Principal placed the building on a “soft lockdown” while the officers were working on the case.”

Director of Schools Lee Parkinson said that a “soft lockdown” is defined as keeping students inside the building and cancelling outdoor recess. “It was simply a precaution and only lasted about an hour. The deputies quickly located the young man who made the online comment at his residence, and we went back to a normal school day.”

Sheriff Guy says the juvenile will be charged in the incident in juvenile court.

He also says the sheriff's office is looking at the other people involved in the argument, and that others may be charged in this case.

Both the sheriff and director of schools want to stress that any threat against a McMinn County student or a school will always be taken seriously.

"We won’t tolerate any threats,” said Sheriff Guy. “If you make even the slightest indication of harm to a student or a school, we are coming to your door. We are not going to let idle threats disrupt our schools.”

This is a developing story - depend on us to update it as we learn more.

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