After threats, Jenkins County students will return to school Tuesday

Published: Nov. 12, 2021 at 4:52 PM EST
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MILLEN, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Jenkins County students will return to school Tuesday as state and local authorities continue to investigate the source of multiple threats that shut down schools for much of the past week.

Jenkins County schools closed last Tuesday and remained closed for the rest of the week after the district says someone sent emails to students and staff late Monday night.

It comes after similar threats the week before. The superintendent says emails to students and staff at the middle school demanded $5,000 in a threatening manner.

At least one of the emails was a bomb threat. Deputies searched the school with a police dog – and they couldn’t find anything.

Superintendent Tara Cooper announced late Friday afternoon that faculty and staff members would return to school Monday and students would return Tuesday.

“I thought the process would happen more quickly - but I am not in law enforcement, and it is not as simple as tracing an email,” she wrote on Facebook. “It involves interviews and subpoenas, multiple agencies downloading and analyzing data, and just takes time.”

She said these measures are being taken to ensure safety:

  • Faculty and staff will have safety training and planning on Monday. Homeland Security staff will be on the school grounds.
  • Beginning Tuesday, law enforcement will be around the campus perimeter during drop-off and dismissal.
  • Metal detectors will be at each entrance.
  • No book bags will be allowed in the building. Students may bring lunch boxes. They can bring whatever folders they absolutely need and teachers will be prepared to use folders for work if needed to send home each day.
  • The doors to the building will stay locked. If parents need to pick up their child, they need to call the school.
  • A law enforcement team will be coming in to do a “sweep” of the building and grounds each morning before school.
  • Parents need to make sure the school has correct information to contact them.
  • A “see something - send something” anonymous reporting system will be established for the school community.
  • Teachers and counselors will be prepared to talk with students.

“Thank you for your support of our school system,” Cooper wrote to parents. “We have multiple agencies working together that WILL identify who sent the emails. Meanwhile, we will be safer than we’ve ever been.”

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