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News at 6: Online threat leads schools across the region to enter into ‘soft lockdown’

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News at 6: Online threat leads schools across the region to enter into ‘soft lockdown’


AN ONLINE THREAT PROMPTED SOFT LOCKDOWNS AT SEVERAL SCHOOL SYSTEMS ACROSS THE TRI-CITIES TODAY. GOOD EVENING, I’M SARA DIAMOND. AND I’M JOSH SMITH. THE SULLIVAN COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE SAYS SOMEONE MADE A THREAT TO KILL THEMSELF AND OTHERS AT A SCHOOL. WHICH SCHOOL IS STILL UNCLEAR. THAT PROMPTED A SOFTLOCK DOWN AT SULLIVAN COUNTY SCHOOLS…AS WELL AS FOUR OTHER SCHOOL SYSTEMS. THAT INCLUDED ALL CARTER AND WASHINGTON COUNTY SCHOOLS…AND THE CITY SCHOOL SYSTEMS OF ELIZABETHTON AND JOHNSON CITY. JUSTIN SOTO JOINS US LIVE OUTSIDE SULLIVAN COUNTY’S CENTRAL OFFICE IN BLOUNTVILLE TONIGHT. JUSTIN YOU SPOKE WITH SCHOOL LEADERS AND INVESTIGATORS — AND LEARNED IF PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES WILL BE IN PLACE AT SCHOOL SYSTEMS TOMORROW. HERE IN BLOUNTVILLE – SULLIVAN COUNTY SCHOOLS CENTRAL OFFICE IS JUST FEET AWAY FROM THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE AND TONIGHT THEY’RE CONTINUING TO WORK TOGETHER TO GET TO THE BOTTOM OF WHO MADE THOSE ONLINE THREATS. AS OF RIGHT NOW – ITS A REGULAR SCHOOL DAY TOMORROW FOR SULLIVAN COUNTY. THIS IS THE MESSAGE SENT TO SULLIVAN COUNTY FAMILIES FROM DIRECTOR OF SCHOOLS EVELYN RAFALOWSKI AROUND 12:45 TODAY THROUGH THEIR SCHOOL MESSENGER SYSTEM THAT GOES TO EMAILS, AND IN A PHONE CALL AND TEXT FORM LETTING THEM KNOW OF THE ONLINE THREATS. THE SULLIVAN COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE IS PLANNING EXTRA PATROLS TOMORROW AFTER TODAY’S SOFT LOCKDOWN WHICH KEEPS STUDENTS INSIDE AS CLASSES CONTINUE ON AS NORMAL. RAFALOWSKI TELLS ME SHE GOT THAT CALL FROM THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE AROUND 11:15 THIS MORNING ABOUT THOSE THREATS AND DECIDED A SOFT LOCKDOWN WAS THE BEST DECISION. “WE HAVE NOTHING THAT INDICATED THAT THIS WAS TARGETING ANY PERSON OR SCHOOL THAT WE HAD BUT BECAUSE IT HAD PINGED IN A TOWER IN BLUFF CITY IT HAD COME TO US, AND WE MADE A DECISION AFTER THAT.” SHE WENT ON TO TELL ME THAT SHE BELIEVES SULLIVAN COUNTY SCHOOLS ARE SAFE AND SHE PLANS TO SEND ANOTHER NOTE TO FAMILIES IN THE COMING HOURS. TODAY’S SOFT LOCKDOWN WILL NOT IMPACT AFTER SCHOOL ACTIVITIES HERE IN SULLIVAN COUNTY. WASHINGTON, JOHNSON CITY, ELIZABETHTON AND CARTER COUNTY SCHOOLS ALSO WENT INTO SOFT LOCKDOWN TODAY – AS OF NOW – CLASSES ARE IN SESSION AS NORMAL TOMORROW.

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