Students at Coffee County Central High School were redirected off site and others held in their cars Wednesday morning after a threat was made against the school.
At approximately 6:40 a.m. CHS principal Joey Vaughn received an email stating that another student said they were going to put a bomb in the school. The building was evacuated and searched by authorities and students were allowed to return to the building by approximately 7:45 a.m.
“We reacted as quickly as we could,” said Vaughn. “We notified law enforcement immediately. I made a contact with someone I knew was already in the building because I knew we had a small group of students here. We immediately locked the doors and evacuated the building. Police arrived immediately.”
Vaughn said students in the building were directed to emergency locations behind the school – the baseball-and-softball-field dugouts as well as the Crethan Hansert Memorial Hitting Facility. Students on busses were redirected to Trinity Baptist Church and those arriving by car were told to remain in their cars.
“Both Manchester Police Department and Coffee County Sheriff’s Department searched the building and once they let me know the building was secure students were allowed to enter the building,” added Vaughn.
The building was cleared prior to 8 a.m. and students were able to all be in first period classes by 8:10, Vaughn said.
Coffee County Sheriff Steve Graves said officials are trying to track down the source of the email.
“We are trying to trace down where the initial threat came from,” stated Graves. “It’s very frustrating [to have these situations] and I’m sure it scares the parents. We have to at least make sure there are no devices in the building.”
Vaughn said parents were notified through the school’s text and email alert once students returned to the building.
“It went out after everything had settled down because we needed to secure the building and make sure the kids were safe.”
Director of Schools Dr. LaDonna McFall said these situations are both frustrating and scary.
“It’s definitely frustrating and time consuming and it costs the county money,” said McFall. “To some of our students, because of what has happened nationwide, this is emotional and upsetting to them.”
McFall added that the school has to take the threats seriously.
“You only hope that you are going to find nothing but we have to take the side of safety. It is scary for the students, parents, teachers and administrators.”
Anyone with information regarding the threatening email is encouraged to contact the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department at 931-728-3591 or the Manchester Police Department at 931-728-2099.