Knox Schools and law enforcement respond to bomb threat

At approximately 7am today, September 12, 2018, the Knox County Public Schools were made aware of telephone threat called into the Barbourville/Knox County 911 dispatch center. The call stated that a bomb was at a Knox County school but did not give a location or other identifying information.

Immediately law enforcement and school personnel started a search of interiors and exteriors of all campuses. At Lay, an old fire extinguisher was found outside on school property and the Barbourville Fire Department was called to investigate. The extinguisher had been abandoned and posed no threat.

Knox County Public Schools have increased safety measures throughout the past year to include metal detectors, hand held wand units, a school resource officer, and increased safety for visitor check-in. When we were made aware of the threat our buses were already running but allowed us time to search buildings before most buses had made their first school stop.

Board chairman Gordon Hinkle and Facilities Coordinator Kim Merida outside Lay Elementary this morning. Both made sure the students and staff were safe before the school day began. Photo by Tasha Stewart.

We do not believe that this threat has any credibility, therefore, we are proceeding with school, with an increased security presence from local law enforcement. However, in an abundance of caution, we treat all threats as if they are serious and will continue to do so today.

Although this threat appears to have no credibility, we wanted to make you aware of the situation and let you know it is safe to send your child to school. Making a threat on a public school can have serious legal and financial consequences for the perpetrator. At the very least, it disrupts the learning environment for the students and consumes staff resources.

We will provide any additional information as it becomes available. You may contact your child’s school if you have specific questions.