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Carter sheriff, director of schools warn against posting threats on social media

John Thompson • Nov 25, 2019 at 5:27 PM

ELIZABETHTON — The Carter County School System has responded to a series of lockdowns at other recent school districts in the region by posting a public service video on its Facebook page.

The video features Kevin Ward, director of schools for the Carter County School System, and Dexter Lunceford, sheriff of Carter County. The video is 2:40 and begins with Ward starting the video by addressing it to parents, guardians and students of the Carter County School System.

Ward said that in light of recent threats or perceived threats on social media in other school districts, “we must be vigilant and aware for safety of all students, faculty and staff.

“For this reason, students and parents should be aware that any threats, so-called second-hand knowledge of a threat, or even the mention of a possible threat, will be viewed in a serious manner and can result in both disciplinary and or criminal charges.”

Ward said parents should be aware of their children’s activities on social media, and in the event of a threat made on social media, parents and students should not communicate the threat on social media but should immediately contact school administrators, the Central Office, or proper authorities.

Lunceford said that while there are many positive impacts to social media, there is also a downside. He said posters need to realize that any message posted could be seen by thousands of others, and because the human element is removed in the message, it may be perceived by others in a different manner than was intended.

Lunceford said that “when these posts are made, he will be notified and an investigation will have to be made, “involving you, your family and your friends.”

Lunceford said he has to determine if the threat is credible. He said that ties up a lot of time and manpower both with the sheriff’s department and with the school department and could result in the placement of charges, even when the threats not intentional. He repeated Ward’s statement not to relay threats found on social media by reposting them. Instead contact teachers, parents or administrators.

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