Overton High parents outraged at school district after false threat
Metro Nashville Police said a ninth grade student face charges in connection with the false calls.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - The way a lockdown at John Overton High School was handled on Monday afternoon has parents outraged.
The threat was deemed a false alarm, but parents say the school’s communication left them terrified for far too long.
They were getting texts from their children saying the school was on lockdown and when they didn’t hear from the district, dozens of parents rushed to the school’s front doors.
“With all the shootings that have happened, I didn’t think that I was going to see my kids anymore,” Overton parent Janet O’Neal said.
Other parents yelled for answers from the school’s principal.
“We’re all getting our kids,” parents said.
Dozens of texts were sent by students inside Overton High School classrooms to parents like O’Neal.
“Can you come pick us up after they clear?” some asked their parents.
“If this was a school shooting, we could be dead, these kids won’t shut up,” O’Neal said reading her children’s text off her phone.
“The office, when I called, they put me on hold, then hung up and when I called back, they said we don’t have to tell you. The hell you don’t. That’s my children,” O’Neal said.
So parents rushed to the school.
“I was met by a Metro officer and he told me that everything was safe and that it was a false alarm and that they were questioning and doing a head count,” one parent said.
Minutes later, Overton principal Dr. Kelby Garner came out.
“I didn’t have to come out here to address you all. I’m just being a good person to help you feel some level of security to know were following by the book, our students are safe,” Garner said.
“You don’t have to come out here?” A parent in the crowd yelled.
“Not at all. I could have stayed in my office, but I just came because I saw you,” Garner replied.
“So, you felt bad for us, waiting and worried about our kids, and came out here? That’s kind of disrespectful don’t you think?” parents said.
Retired U.S. Master Sgt. Carnell Hodges, an Overton parent, stepped into the conversation.
“They can’t send out a message saying what’s going on until they figure out what’s going on. I’ve done this for a living, they did it by the books. They surrounded the building, did a sweep for a weapon, I had seven cars blocking me in,” Hodges said.
Metro Nashville Public Schools said the call about a threat came in at 12:15 p.m. but parents didn’t get a call or email until 1:08 p.m., and then a voicemail was sent out.
“We have been informed by the police that the suspect who initiated the threat has been arrested, we also know that another student was taken into custody for contributing to the alarm by making a call to the police after the clock down was initiated,” the voicemail from Overton High said.
Metro Nashville Police confirmed Monday night that a ninth-grade student. Police said two calls came in reporting an active shooter, but they were found to be false calls upon 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.
“They’ve had a spokesperson out here giving information all the time, this time? No.”
Copyright 2023 WSMV. All rights reserved.