Nashville school failed to alert parents ‘in a timely manner’ after threat, nonprofit says

The foundation said student messages to parents, due to the absence of school communication, added to confusion and fear surrounding students’ safety.
The district says after any incident like Mondays, they will continue to review and refine their emergency response.
Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 9:44 AM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) – The Uvalde Foundation For Kids is asking for a procedural review of communication during school threats after parents shared their frustrations about how multiple threats against John Overton High School were handled on Monday.

The foundation, established after the Robb Elementary School shooting, said it is addressing concerns by parents, who claim the school failed to properly and “in a timely manner,” alert parents of the lockdowns and threats.

A ninth-grade student was arrested Monday afternoon following a threat to the high school. Police said two calls were received reporting an active shooter, but the calls were found to be false calls after further investigation.

The student was charged in juvenile court with making a threat of mass violence, making a false report and abuse of the 911 system, police said.

The Uvalde Foundation For Kids said that student messages to parents, due to the absence of school communication, added to confusion and fear surrounding students’ safety and what was actually transpiring.

Foundation officials are asking the school board and superintendent to review school response protocols and the specific incident response this week.

”The foundation is connecting with several concerned and frankly, angered families who deserved a far more timely, organized and empathetic response by school officials when this event occurred,” the foundation’s national director Daniel Chapin said in a media release. “The foundation would like a clear explanation. The parents and school community deserve an explanation (and) moreover, a clear understanding of the school’s response protocols. We need to increase our responses overall in this area to truly understand that parents and family members must be considered PRIORITY for communication when it comes to potential threats to their children in our schools. In ensuring this, schools can actually limit the disruption and even the traumatic effects which these types of threats can ignite.”

Metro Nashville Public Schools and the Metropolitan Police Department have said these threats are taken seriously.

“Phone threats of mass violence against schools can be incredibly disruptive to the learning environment, traumatizing for students, parents, and staff, and a significant drain on law enforcement resources. Although we understand that these calls are likely not credible, we must treat every threat seriously and work with the police to investigate the potential threat and ensure the safety of students and staff in the building,” spokesman Sean Braisted said in an email. “Principals try to keep their parents informed as quickly as possible; however, the priority is with initiating the lockdown and working with the police to assess and address the situation. As there are many students with cell phones, it is likely they might contact their parents before schools can do a callout.”