Unsubstantiated threat prompts tighter school security

Lewis County Schools Superintendent Jamie Weddington sent a letter home with students today (8/27/19) in which he describes a “vague, unsubstantiated threat against a school district in Kentucky.”

Letter to parents from Superintendent Jamie Weddington. See below to view PDF.

Weddington says officials do not believe it is a legitimate school threat but adds that all threats are taken seriously.

Weddington says the threat was initially reported to the FBI in Arkansas from an individual located outside of the United States and did not mention any specific schools or school districts.

“The threat only mentioned that schools somewhere in Arkansas on August 29 and Kentucky on August 28 would experience schools shootings,” Weddington states in the letter.

“The Lewis County School District has not been specifically named in any threat,” he emphasized.

Weddington has been in communication with Sheriff Johnny Bivens and Vanceburg Police Chief Joe Billman, and has received information from the Kentucky Center for School Safety, Office of Homeland Security and Kentucky Department of Education regarding the threat.

“We have appropriate security measures in place to ensure our schools are as safe as possible for our students and staff,” he said.

Weddington adds he will continue to communicate with authorities on the issue as needed.

“Safety is our number one priority,” he said.

Sheriff Johnny Bivens says all available officers will be placed on detail at Lewis County schools Wednesday and urges citizens to always be aware of their surroundings to notice anything that may seem suspicious or out of place.

“We urge the citizens of Lewis County to always be on the lookout for anyone who is acting suspiciously and report them to the proper authorities,” he said.

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Information from Kentucky Fusion Director:

We are aware of a Facebook post circulating about a possible incident at a school being planned for the 28th in Kentucky and the 29th in Arkansas.

Initially the threat was reported to FBI Little Rock from an individual outside of the US. The threat was read in a gaming chat room that indicated there is going to be an incident at a Kentucky and Arkansas school on the 28th and 29th of this month.

The threat DID NOT name a specific location in either state and was very generalized. At this time, the complaint is UNSUBSTANTIATED.

If anything further develops from this report, the KIFC will push out additional information as it becomes available. The FBI and KIFC, as well as state and local law enforcement, continue to monitor this situation.

S/Lindsey Hix

KY Intelligence Fusion Center Director

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From Kentucky Department of Education:

Dear Kentucky Superintendents,

The Kentucky Department of Education has been in communications today with the Cabinet for Justice and Public Safety and the Kentucky Center for School Safety regarding news reports out of Arkansas of a possible “school shooting threat” in Kentucky on August 28. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has released the following statement in regards to the report:

FBI Louisville is aware of an unspecified internet threat against schools in Kentucky (08/28) and Arkansas (08/29). There is no evidence indicating this threat is credible. However, if you see something suspicious online or in person, contact local law enforcement or the FBI.

This incident should serve as a reminder to ensure that any district staff member (certified, classified or paraprofessional) who will have contact with students must view this active shooter training video, as required by Senate Bill 1 (2019).

We will keep you informed if more information becomes available.

S/Wayne D. Lewis, Jr., Ph.D.

Commissioner of Education
Office of the Commissioner
Kentucky Department of Education
300 Sower Blvd, 5th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601

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Click HERE for a PDF of the letter sent home with Lewis County students.

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