A Knox County man is behind bars after police say he called in threats to a local school system.
The man, Kenneth Miller, 43 of Barbourville, allegedly called Kentucky Department of Education offices making threats toward the Knox County school system, specifically Lay Elementary School.
“The school district was quickly made aware of the telephone call by the Kentucky Department of Education,” said Frank Shelton, Director of Communications and System Governance with Knox County Public Schools. “Although the parent indicated that they were not planning to carry out the threats, we treated this as one since it was stated in the phone conversation.”
Officials with KDE contacted Kentucky State Police Post 10 Harlan at about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. They quoted Miller saying “If schools don’t start doing something for special needs, parents are going to start shooting up schools. Am I supposed to beat up the principal?”
KSP Trooper Chad Gregory and Detective Jacob Wilson obtained an arrest warrant for Miller, and arrested him at his residence, charging him with Terroristic Threatening 2nd Degree, and lodged him in the Knox County Detention Center.
Shelton affirmed school system officials and law enforcement were quick to take charge. “KDE, KCPS, and KSP all responded quickly to this and within an hour the parent was in custody. The school district and KSP do not feel that the school was in danger at any time. Our schools remain locked during the school day and police had arrived at his home prior to our schools dismissing,” said Shelton. “Regardless of whether it is said in frustration, in a jokingly manner, or while irate, the school district is treating all threats as real. It doesn’t matter if it’s on the telephone, on social media, in person, or whether it was made by a parent or a student.”
Shelton added that “As soon as KSP completed the arrest and released information to the Harlan Post, the school district sent an automated telephone call to all Lay families and sent an email to staff. On Thursday a letter will be sent home by students explaining the situation and reinforcing our commitment to school safety.”
Det. Wilson is continuing the investigation.