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A man was arrested early Monday morning for allegedly threatening physical violence against an underage female student and threatening to commit violent acts at Anderson County High School, according to city police.
Police Chief Chris Atkins said he received a complaint shortly after midnight about the suspect, an adult male and former Anderson County student, sending text messages that allegedly contained physical threats against a female juvenile at Anderson County High School and threats to commit violent acts at the school.
According to Superintendent Sheila Mitchell, the threats also involved insinuations of bomb threats and shootings. Kentucky State Police sent in a dog to search and secure both Emma B. Ward and Anderson County High School campuses.
After obtaining a warrant from the county attorney’s office, the man was arrested around 3 a.m., Atkins said.
The former student will be charged with 25 counts of third degree terroristic threatening, one count of second degree terroristic threatening and 41 counts of harassing communications, according to Atkins.
The chief said he would not rule out additional charges for the suspect, and believes the threats to be an isolated incident.
Because of a possible connection to Emma B. Ward Elementary, the elementary campus was searched and secured by law enforcement, Atkins said.
“There was never any question that the kids were going to be safe to go to school this morning,” Atkins said. “We weren’t going to let kids go into a dangerous situation.”
Extra security was added at Emma B. Ward and the high school, and police officers stationed in entryways to each campus, Mitchell said.
Mitchell said a One Call notification was sent early Monday morning to Emma B. Ward and Anderson County High School parents informing them of the threats and increased law enforcement presence.
“We are very fortunate that our law enforcement handled this very quickly, and we worked with them very closely with law enforcement to make sure sites were secure before the decision was made to hold school today,” Mitchell said Monday morning.
Monday morning's threats came on the tail end of the school district's renewed efforts to improve and update its security measures, with local law enforcement and emergency management officials performing security assessments at each campus.
“I think that we can never take enough measures to ensure the safety of our students and staff. I think the work that we’ve done so far has been a great step,” Mitchell said.
“Safety is the No. 1 priority and we will make sure we’re doing everything possible to make sure our schools are safe.”
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