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Area School District’s Aware of Social Media Postings Related to Statewide School Threat

Several posts are being shared on Facebook concerning a threat of school shootings to occur in Arkansas this week.

Posts have been shared hundreds of times on social media platforms eluding to possible school shootings to occur in Arkansas and Kentucky later this week.

None of the posts point to any specific school, but area administrators have assured the patrons of their district’s that the safety of the students are their primary concern.

Superintendent Benny Wesson of the Mena School District assured parents that the district ill continue its current security efforts on each campus while remaining in direct communication with both the Mena City Police Department and the Polk County Sheriff’s office.

Cossatot River School District Superintendent Jim Tankersly stated the district would be vigilant in their efforts to protect their students.

And, Ouachita River School District Superintendent Jerry Strasner announced the district will be protecting students and staff with extra security this week on all of their campuses.

Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer pointed the following statement on Facebook Sunday afternoon.

“I have received numerous phone calls, emails, and messages from concerned parents, students, and school staff about a threat made against an unknown school in Arkansas. Last week the Little Rock FBI Office sent out a LE BOLO for “General Awareness” to all Law Enforcement Agencies in Arkansas. A non specific threat to an unknown school district in Arkansas was reported to the FBI on or about August 20th. The caller was not in the United States and allegedly received the information via an online video game. The caller stated that a school shooting would occur in Kentucky on 8/28/2019 and Arkansas on 8/29/2019.The FBI has not been able to confirm the identity of the caller or the person allegedly making the threats.

As the Sheriff of Polk County, and as a parent, I take any threats against our schools seriously. Over the last several years, we have made school safety and security a priority in Polk County. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Ouachita River School District, Mena School District, Cossatot River School District, and the University of Arkansas Rich Mountain have partnered together to ensure that all of our kids are safe. In addition to upgrading our campus security, we have placed certified SRO’s in every school district. Furthermore, we have also trained and armed school personnel to protect our children should the need arise.

While I am very confident in the security of our schools, I also know that assuring that our kids feel safe at school, our teachers feel safe at school, and our parents feel comfortable sending their children to school is part of my job. We are treating this information very seriously and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office will have extra personnel on every campus to keep our kids safe.”

Sheriff Sawyer’s statement offered more information than the Arkansas State Police press release in that the threat apparently comes from outside of the country and through an online video game.

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