UPDATE 4:50PM: Decatur police officers confirmed they arrested a male juvenile in connection with threats made against Decatur High School and Decatur Middle School earlier in the day. The juvenile will be taken to the Tennessee Valley Juvenile Detention Center pending a hearing.
Our original reporting continues below:
Decatur High School and Decatur Middle School ended Friday's classes early after spending much of the day under heightened alert following a series of emails threatening gun violence, according to Superintendent Dwight Satterfield.
In a video released to social media channels, Satterfield said several staff members received the emails, which he said were "identifiable" as being from a former student. The city school system's press office said a total of three emails were received.
After deeming the threats as credible, the campuses went from "heightened alert" to "secure perimeter," preventing further movement at both schools.
Decatur City Schools Crisis Response Team and Decatur Police Department have had crews on both campuses monitoring activity, and a preliminary sweep was conducted.
The district's-controlled release plan was activated. According to a Facebook post on Decatur High School's page, details are as follows:
Students will have an identification to match them up with the proper person picking them up. Bus riders and walkers will be held until the end of the day or until they are picked up. When we dismiss it will be only drivers and household siblings. If your child is not a driver or sibling of a driver, they will not be allowed to leave.
As releases happened at DCS and DHS, Austin Junior High School was the focus of a separate investigation. Decatur City Schools officials said parents have been made aware of the situation there.
“We are currently on Heightened Awareness due to an airdropped message," said Principal Dr. Mark Christopher. "School personnel and authorities are investigating. Classes are still going on as normal and instruction is taking place. Students and staff are secure.” An investigation into that incident is ongoing, though Satterfield said this threat was deemed as not credible.
After school activities across the Decatur school system have been canceled due to impending severe weather and are not connected with the security incidents.
The threats come days after the shooting at Covenant School in Nashville, in which a former student killed three children and three staff members before being killed by responding police.