WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – As students return to the classroom, school systems in Tennessee have a new method of punishing students who make threats against their schools.

Tennessee lawmakers passed legislation this year that enacts a zero-tolerance policy in public school systems. Any student who makes a threat of mass violence against their school will be expelled for one year.

Washington County, Tennessee Schools Superintendent Jerry Boyd said the law works as a new tool in the school district’s arsenal.

“Explicitly, in the law, it meant only a few things as far as student misbehavior and how they would be addressed,” Boyd said. “This adds that fourth element to the zero-tolerance law and explicitly mentions threats against a school.”

The law was proposed and passed after a wave of threats was reported near the end of last school year at multiple schools in Tennessee, including several in the Tri-Cities.