Student accused of making threat against TNHS

-A A +A
By Forrest Berkshire, Editor

A Thomas Nelson High School student was arrested and charged with first-degree terroristic threatening Tuesday after allegedly making a threat against the school.

According to a district press release, the threat was made over the weekend and apparently arose from an altercation that had occurred Feb. 8 between two students. Neither student attended school on Friday, and the district was closed for weather on Monday.

School administrators learned Tuesday morning a threatening image had been posted on Snapchat, a popular instant messaging app.

Initially, the district did not release details of the image, only saying “it could be described as a threat.”

On Wednesday, Tom Brown, interim superintendent for Nelson County Schools, said the threat was general in nature.

“There was no explicit threat of violence,” he said. “There was no gun or anything like that.”

He said violence was “more implied in nature.”

“A student put something stupid on Snapchat,” he said. “We take it all serious. Even something people would consider minor or petty a few years ago.

“But at the same time, a threat is a threat.”

After learning of the message, TNHS administrators investigated and notified Bardstown Police Department. One 15-year-old student was subsequently taken into custody that afternoon.

The investigation is ongoing. Because the student is a juvenile, there was limited information available from the police or the school.

While the specifics of the message have not been released, the district joins several others around the state involving statements perceived as threats by students following the Jan. 23 shooting deaths of two students and a dozen more injured at Marshall County High School by a 15-year-old classmate.

While schools were closed on Monday, administrators did meet with officials of the Kentucky Center for School Safety for a previously scheduled discussion on school shootings and safety measures.

Tuesday’s police response is also not the first time law enforcement has taken action involving a potentially threatening message concerning a local school. In May, a criminal complaint was issued against a 19-year-old who was accused of texting a juvenile about purchasing a gun and making a threat against Nelson County High School. The teen was charged with second-degree terroristic threatening, which was amended down to second-degree disorderly conduct and resulted in a fine.

The latest large-scale mass shooting at a school happened Wednesday afternoon when 17 students were killed in Parkland, Fla. Officials there said the death toll could climb higher. The New York Times reported that Wednesday’s Florida massacre by a 19-year-old former student was at least the 40th “active shooter” episode in a school since 2000. Three of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history happened in the last five months.

“These are difficult times we live in,” Brown said.

“Our administrative team at TNHS responded quickly,” Brown said of this week’s incident. “We take it very seriously and the police take it very seriously and the young man’s parents take it very seriously.”

Kacie Goode contributed to this report.