BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL) — Bristol, Tennessee police and city school leaders spoke together at a press conference Wednesday afternoon to describe their joint response to an apparent ‘hoax call’ at Tennessee High School.
Bristol, Tennessee Police Chief Matt Austin said they received a call directly to the police department at around 10:54 a.m. Wednesday regarding a possible active threat at Tennessee High. Chief Austin said all students and staff are safe and the school has been cleared.
“As we’ve lived through it, we can be rest assured that our training that we do each day has worked very, very well,” Austin said. “There was a quick and immediate response, and cooperation with the school system on lockdowns, too, as we approached the school. We also used cooperation with the fire department because of our training, and the fire apparatuses helped us block access to Tennessee High to allow us to see a safe operation at the school.”
Bristol City Schools Director Annette Tudor said although officials received word that several schools in the area had gotten similar calls, the response was taken seriously throughout the entire process.
“Just as Chief Austin said, as we’ve tried to do, and I appreciate their response,” Tudor said. “It was immediate. They took it very serious and as if it were a credible threat, even if we had information otherwise.”
Tudor said all Bristol City Schools were placed on lockdown during the response as an act of precaution.
“But we just decided that it would be safest to do all of our schools in a lockdown until we were assured that there was no threat anywhere,” she said.
Austin told the public that as of Wednesday afternoon, it’s unclear why these calls happened at high schools in Tennessee and for what reason.
“It’s an active investigation, as far as we know, we’ll be working with TBI and other federal agencies to track that down,” Austin said. “Right now, it’s still too early to say why the call came here to Bristol or to any of the other locations around the state that it occurred.”
Threats of a similar nature were also made to schools in Johnson City, Kingsport and Greeneville. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation provided a notice at 11:22 a.m., stating hoax calls of active shooters at schools across the state were being reported.