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.
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.
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.
"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.