Letter from Superintendent Dr. Steve Barnett
Dear Parents and Guardians,
The past week has been a stressful time for our region due to the barrage of school threats posted on social media. We understand and empathize with parents’ concerns and want to make sure that the community understands that the safety of our students and staff is our top priority. We take all threats very seriously and work closely with the Johnson City Police Department to investigate and resolve any matters that are reported.
In the early morning hours of Friday, November 22, Johnson City Police became aware of a hoax on social media directed toward Science Hill High School and Liberty Bell Middle School. JCPD and other law enforcement quickly identified the individual and the appropriate measures were taken. There was no credible evidence to suggest that a threat existed, but out of an abundance of caution, there were extra JCPD officers and patrols around the campuses today.
We appreciate the public bringing these concerns to local law enforcement’s attention. We encourage the community to continue to come forth with any threat, whether they deem it credible or not. If you see or hear something, say something! It is important to immediately report any threats to the Johnson City Police Department (423-434-6158). We also have anonymous text service available by texting the code "423JCPD" along with the tip to phone number 847411 (TIP411). If possible, it may also be helpful to capture any screenshot or to document the threat. However, sharing those screenshots or further spreading any rumor is counterproductive to the safety of our community and only causes complications for those investigating the threat.
Finally, we ask that our parents have conversations with their students about the seriousness of making a school threat and the consequences that accompany such an action. We also encourage parents to be attentive to what their students are doing on their social media and cell phones.
In closing, we want to reiterate that safety is our number one priority for students and staff. While we take all threats seriously, if a credible threat is ever made against Johnson City Schools, we will immediately begin our lockdown procedure and notify parents as soon as accurate information is available. While the notification may not be immediate, it is important that the information we distribute to the community is accurate. We appreciate the community’s support and we hope that everyone enjoys their weekend and the upcoming holiday.
Steve Barnett, Ed.D