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UPDATE: All city of Decatur schools on lock down following threatening phone calls

Crime and public safety Decatur

UPDATE: All city of Decatur schools on lock down following threatening phone calls

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Reader Barbara Palumbo sent this photo of the scene outside of Renfroe Middle School earlier today, Nov. 27.


This story has been updated. 

All Decatur schools, including Decatur High and Renfroe Middle School, are on lock down today, Nov. 27, after schools received threatening phone calls  this morning.

A robocall to parents from the school district said the lock down will remain in effect until all students are dismissed for the day. The school district also cancelled all after-school activities and did not allow early check outs.

An employee who answered the phone at the Decatur Police Department said the lock down was a precaution, “To make sure everyone is ok.”

Several private schools in the area also went on lock down as a precaution according to parents with children at those schools.

A spokesperson for the Police Department said, “On Tuesday, November 27, 2018, the Decatur Police Department received reports of a bomb threat against one school and threats of gun violence made against two additional schools. Working with City Schools of Decatur, a system-wide lock down of all schools was initiated out of precaution. DeKalb County Police and DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office responded to assist. Schools are still currently under lock down as we investigate these threats. There have been officers on site at every school since we were made aware of the threats. We have found no evidence to substantiate these threats at this point.  Officers will remain assigned to each of the schools for the remainder of the day. We will provide an update after the lock down is lifted.”

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Oakhurst Elementary was one of the schools that received the threat.

An email to parents from the school says, “We received a threat over the phone this morning that a shooter was coming to our school.  We always take any threat to our students and staff seriously. Law enforcement was involved immediately and we put our school into lock down. Once the threat was deemed not credible by the police, we resumed our school day. Law enforcement is continuing their investigation into the threat.”

A letter sent to Winnona Park Elementary parents indicated that school had also received a threatening phone call about a shooter visiting to school. Glennwood Elementary sent a letter to parents that said, “We received a bomb threat this morning over the phone.”

Decatur Police Officers and DeKalb County Sheriff’s deputies were spotted in the area. Decaturish contributor Cathi Harris said officers searched Glennwood Elementary and students there were briefly evacuated to a nearby school.

Glennwood students were cleared return to class, Harris reported.

Harris said that the sheriff also blocked off East Ponce de Leon Avenue at Commerce Drive during the search.

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Photo by Cathi Harris

City Schools of Decatur officials were not immediately available for comment but did send the following message to parents soon after the lock down went into effect.

Your child’s safety is our top priority. Out of an abundance of caution after receiving threats at some schools, CSD has gone into a system-wide lock down.

We are actively working with the police department to investigate this situation. Students cannot be checked out until the lock down is lifted. Please do not go to the schools because this will interfere with school safety procedures. Decatur Police Department has dispatched officers to all schools.

We will continue to send updates.

Students and teachers at Decatur High and Renfroe Middle texted members to notify them about the lock down.

A parent said they received the following text messages from their student, who attends Decatur High.

From my DHS jr:

10:48—We are in a hard lock down for some reason

(I asked if he was in a classroom)

10:55—Yep. And we are behind these lab benches. I am nowhere near the door. They said it was something outside of the building

11:09—We are now on a soft lock down. So we can come up and start class but we can’t leave the class

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that schools in Dunwoody have also received threats recently.

“None of those threats were deemed to be credible,” the AJC reported.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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