Numerous Jarrell Middle School students absent March 27 following school threats
JARRELL, Texas - Schools in Jarrell had a lot of extra security Monday, March 27 after schools had two violent threats the week before.
Law enforcement officers from several state and local agencies were in Jarrell. Even Fort Hood soldiers were providing some campus security as students arrived. It was a district-wide deployment, according to superintendent Toni Hicks.
"That is how we started our day, we're thankful for Williamson County and our state troopers, DPS. We're here, we had K-9 units here. We utilize a company also for K-9 units. We called them on Sunday, asked them to come over and assist us also. So we really very appreciative to all the support we had to be sure our kids and our staff were safe," said Hicks.
The extra security was not in response to a threat that happened Friday, March 24 at Jarrell Middle School. A student reportedly had a gun, but after a search, a weapon was not found on campus. The student was identified and is being disciplined for statements she allegedly made.
A second threat of violence happened Saturday, March 25. It was posted on TikTok, a social media site, and included details similar to what happened the day before. Hicks said the two cases are not directly related.
"Correct. Two separate incidents," said Hicks.
Jarrell Interim Police Chief Pacer Korn said no arrest had been made as of Monday afternoon for the Saturday threat, but multiple interviews have continued. A statement from Jarrell PD was also posted on the department Facebook page.
"We are thankful for the information we continue to receive from the school district and community. Every lead is helpful in our investigation," said Chief Korn, in the Facebook post.
The chief went on to say they are getting help from federal and state cyber experts. He also addressed some earlier reports from the weekend.
"We want to provide you with accurate information and clear the untruths being shared. The girls in the first two videos of the TikTok account are NOT suspects. Those videos were posted in early February and were unfairly tied to the social media platform. We have gathered that the user initially created that page for a purpose that is non-threatening," said Interim Chief Korn.
School officials credit another website for helping them with their quick response. Tips made through anonymous alerts quickly notified school officials about the Saturday threat. There is a link on the district’s homepage and an app can be downloaded to smartphones.
"As a school district, we partner with our parents, and it's important that we are all working together to keep our kids safe. And so whatever we can do to communicate that and emphasize and reemphasize these are the areas that we can shore up and that we can protect our kids, We need to do that. And if it's continuous, then we do it continuously because we have to be partners," said Hicks.
Numerous students were absent from Jarrell Middle School on Monday. An exact number could not be provided. School officials say the absences on Monday will be excused, a decision regarding attendance Tuesday has not yet been made.