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Security at Athens public schools increased after threat of gun violence

By Joe Johnson

Students arrived at Clarke County schools Thursday Morning to find an increased police presence due to a social media threat the night before.

The beefed up security was in response to a message posted with the Snapchat smartphone app by someone who identified themselves as a “white boy with long hair in the 8th grade” and stated that “I have a pistal (sic)” and planned to shoot up Clarke Middle School and the Aps Road and Cleveland Road elementary schools.

"So be ready to die...this isn't a joke," the message stated.

When asked about the threat Wednesday night, Athens-Clarke County Deputy Police Chief Jerry Saulters said his department took the threat seriously and that extra security would be provided at all local public schools, not just those mentioned on Snapchat.

Also Friday night, the Clarke County School District sent an email to parents, faculty and staff that informed them of the threat.

“The Clarke County School District is working directly with the Athens-Clarke County Police Department to investigate this incident,” the email stated. “We are taking this incident very seriously and will continue to work with the ACCPD to ensure our schools, students, and staff remain safe and secure.”

The email also advised that security was going to be increased at all schools Thursday morning.

“It is unfortunate outside influences disrupt our students’ learning environment,” the email stated.

The email asked or anyone with information about the threat to contact police or CCSD Campus Security.

“If you see posts or receive text messages please know that we are focused on ensuring students receive the best education in a safe and orderly environment,” the school district email stated.

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