[Masthead] Fair ~ 73°F  
High: 74°F ~ Low: 50°F
Monday, Sep. 22, 2014

City schools receive threat, situation under control

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

If parents were wondering how quickly the city schools would react in the event of a threatening situation, they received reassurance on Tuesday morning that threats would be addressed calmly and immediately. At approximately 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning, a threatening phone call was received at the Dyersburg Primary School. An unidentified caller indicated that the school needed to be evacuated because it was going to explode. The call triggered a number of safety procedures that according to City School Superintendent Neel Durbin are constantly under revision and scrutiny by his staff, police and state and federal authorities.

"School security is constantly being looked at," said Durbin. "It is a constant, on-going process."

The Dyersburg Police Department responded within approximately six minutes of the call and began working with staff, teachers and administrators to thoroughly search the school. As they did, a second phone call came in, this time to the Dyersburg Intermediate School, stating a similar threatening message. DIS staff, teachers and administrators were mobilized to search the school, as Durbin coordinated efforts at DIS while Lyn Burkhead, director of school systems, coordinated efforts at DPS.

(Photo)
Dyersburg Primary School received a threatening phone call from an unidentified caller at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday.
"We take all threats seriously," said Durbin. "The call triggered a series of school procedures that our staff could not have followed any better."

As a security measure all city schools were placed on lockdown while DPD searched DIS and DPS. After conducting a thorough search of both campuses and determining that there was no danger, the lockdown was lifted at all schools.

Despite being reassured of the safety of their children, many parents came to the school to pick up their children.

(Photo)
Dyersburg Police maintain a presence at Dyersburg Primary School after the school was searched for an explosive device. Nothing suspicious was found at the school and the school was taken off lockdown within an hour of the phone call.
"I'm scared for my kids," said an unidentified mother. "I'm ready to take my kids out of school and home school them. They are supposed to be safe at school."

The lobby at DPS was filled with parents who came to collect their children, many questioning why the children were not evacuated from the school if the caller indicated they were going to blow up the school. The State Gazette spoke with Durbin about this question and he assured parents that the school and police followed their procedures perfectly.

"We don't want to show anyone our security blueprints, but we address safety all the time," said Durbin.

(Photo)
Parents wait in long lines at Dyersburg Primary School to pick up their children. Many indicated they were scared for their children and may keep them out of school on Wednesday as well.
The procedures that the Dyersburg city schools follow are based on lessons learned from previous school tragedies such as the March 24, 1998 incident in Jonesboro, Ark. where two classmates, Mitchell Johnson and Andrew Golden, pulled the fire alarm and waited in the tree lines for their fellow students to gather outside. Once students were out of the building, Johnson and Golden began shooting, killing five and wounding eleven others.

"We will never be perfect, but we will continue to do the best that we can," said Durbin.

The threatening phone calls made today are currently under investigation.


Comments
Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. If you feel that a comment is offensive, please Login or Create an account first, and then you will be able to flag a comment as objectionable. Please also note that those who post comments on stategazette.com may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.

I sure as heck hope they can trace this phone call and throw the book at this nut(s). It was probably just some nut wanting attention but our kids don't need this kind of nonsense!

-- Posted by Dude2010 on Tue, Dec 18, 2012, at 12:44 PM

this is UNnerving! uncalled for!!!

-- Posted by closerlook on Tue, Dec 18, 2012, at 1:56 PM

I think I will keep my children out of school until after Christmas, this is Crazy! even 6 mins is still long enough to do to much damage to our children! There should be deputies in the schools like they have done all over Tn. East tn has put police in the schools not outside and there should be metal detectors even in the elementary and intermediate! Some kid in my 8 yr olds class had a knife just last month in school and on his bus threatening children and they didn't take him out of school they put him in iss for 3 days! Let alone when I went to the school last week the back door that should be locked was open! I home school my oldest kids and thinking it's about time to home school them all! I do not think Dyer county is doing half as much as the rest of Tn when it comes to protecting our children. I lived all threw Tn and only in Dyer county do they NOT take bullying, threats and other kinds of major issues problems seriously enough! In light of recent events you'd think Dyer county would be like the rest of Tn and be prepared having police in the school being in a sort of lock down at all times and preparing I mean metal detectors and someone to monitor and make sure ALL doors are locked when out in the playgrounds there should be police there! When parents or other people come they should be more strict on letting people in as in using ID's and also checking anyone who comes in like they do in a court house! I'm just one parent who thinks are kids should be just as protected as the court house!

-- Posted by Fearsformychildren on Tue, Dec 18, 2012, at 2:33 PM

I agree, this was completely uncalled for. Simple message needs to be sent, 24 months in jail, period. No early release, nothing. I am sure this was done as a joke, and whoever did it had a great laugh, but let them sit in jail for 24 months and laugh about it.

-- Posted by liveshere on Tue, Dec 18, 2012, at 4:00 PM

Fearsformychildren, I tend to disagree with everything you have written about school security. First, let me observe that based on your writing, spelling, and grammar, your parents did not hesitate to take you out of school frequently. If you kept your kid(s)out of school, where would you take them? Wal-Mart? The mall? Church? In parts of our nation, all these have been targets of attacks recently. Dyersburg has had public schooling for nearly 160 years, with multiple schools throughout the 20th century. Though it is impossible to be specific, in the 21st century, 5 days a week, 9 months a year, 7 hours each day, just over 3,000 students gather in our schools, and have for well over 100 years. Not one death in any school, accidental or deliberate, not one shooting and apparently not one gun fired in anger.

Select another building or area and dare to make this claim. Schools are the safest places and institutions in our society--school violence has declined in the past decade.

Why do we not know this? A simple and dangerous answer? Network TV. All the statistics in the world cannot refute video clips from CNN or MSNBC.

TV shows are not interrupted with bulletins to report that all his orderly in a school. Anecdotal evidence trumps written facts every time.

Your "facts" about there being metal detectors, deputies, and lock downs in the rest of Tennessee schools is not correct, has never been correct, and, let us pray, never will be correct.

We share a dangerous and uncertain planet with flawed fellow humans. Nothing can be guaranteed--not by metal detetors, gun control or letter to the editor calling for throwing the baby out with the bath water. We search for certainty, but we all know it cannot be found.

-- Posted by augielio on Tue, Dec 18, 2012, at 6:15 PM

Well stated and right on point Augielio. Dyersburg is fortunate to have professionals looking after our children.

Thanks for that great job to all the responders and school staff.

-- Posted by ukwildcats on Tue, Dec 18, 2012, at 6:26 PM

Augielio....it's nice that the first thing you notice about a worried parents post is their grammar, spelling, writing, whatever. She is a worried parent, just like myself. So chill out on your responses...this isn't the place.

I have great faith in our schools and the way they're trying to reassure parents that its still safe for your children to go to school. And even contemplated the idea of home schooling, but my children would miss out on so many memories that school has to offer....and fear would win. Fear will NOT win. My children are my life, my heart, my entire soul. And I believe they are in great hands at both Primary and Intermediate.

-- Posted by Laurie96 on Tue, Dec 18, 2012, at 8:02 PM

Our world is getting more dangerous all the time and there's nothing that can absolutly guarantee our children's safely in school or anywhere else, including home. There are the idiots who call in these threats, who have nothing better to do it seems. I hope the calls can be traced and the caller put in jail. Meanwhile, don't be condemning those who are doing the best they can to ensure the students safety.

-- Posted by realworld on Wed, Dec 19, 2012, at 12:08 AM

I have custody of my 5 year old granddaughter who attends DPS and I'm at that school every day of the week doing volunteer work. I didn't remove my granddaughter from the school yesterday... I followed the directives from those first responders, the Dyersburg PD, Fire Dept and EMS. I also followed the directives issued by the school officials and stayed out of everyone's way as they did their jobs. As soon as the "ALL Clear" was given, I went inside to join my granddaughter for lunch and to reassure her if needs be. I want to THANK all the official and school employees who did an excellent job of following procedures and ensuring that our children were protected. I believe it's more frightening to the children to have them removed from school due to parental hysteria. I saw and heard several parents making vile statements and even threats towards the officers and school officials who were doing an excellent job to protect every student and teacher in the building. Kudos and thanks to all the Dyersburg Police Officers who were there, to the Firemen and EMS workers, to Ms DeBerry, Ms Morgan, Mr Chris and the rest of the staff at DPS {names too numerous to add.} Hysteria never solves a problem, but cool and organised thinking does. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO THEM ALL!!!

-- Posted by DannyeSue on Wed, Dec 19, 2012, at 5:51 AM

DannySue, your comments are right on target as well. The parents who ran to the school during the event were in the way of those trying to protect the children.

Sad thing is, those parents who took their children out of school did more harm to their children than the actual threat itself.

-- Posted by ukwildcats on Wed, Dec 19, 2012, at 7:44 AM

They need to put God back in the school. Put the 10 commandments up and teach the kids what they say "Thou Shall Not Kill" We need more God control not Gun control. We took God out of the schools and let the Devil in. Those poor little kids that died were shot 11 times each in 3 minutes.

-- Posted by momma2soon on Wed, Dec 19, 2012, at 1:02 PM


Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration. If you already have an account on this site, enter your username and password below. Otherwise, click here to register.

Username:

Password:  (Forgot your password?)

Your comments:
Please be respectful of others and try to stay on topic.