The Covington Police Department announced Friday night it had charged a 12-year-old with making threats of mass violence on school property.

Chief Donna Turner said the charge was related to recent social media posts threatening violence at Covington High School and Crestview Middle School on Thursday. CPD increased its presence at schools but many parents checked their students out because they didn’t feel comfortable with them being in attendance.

Copies of the posts obtained by The Leader suggest the threat of violence was stemming from the outcome of football games played last week against Ripley’s middle and high schools. Covington and Crestview won those games.


“These posts created alarm and panic throughout all schools and within our community,” Turner said. “As people began reposting the threatening post it went viral.”

The investigation was a multi-agency effort, with CPD working with the Tipton County Sheriff’s Office, Tipton County Board of Education, the district attorney’s office, Tennessee Highway Patrol, and the Department of Homeland Security.

The child charged attends CMS and lives in north Covington. Detectives spoke with the child and their parents, confirming the social media accounts and activity. The middle schooler was charged in Tipton County Juvenile Court on Friday. Though a threat was made, the child does not have a gun or access to one, Turner said.

“I appreciate all of the speedy police work from all of the agencies and especially Tennessee Department of Homeland Security Agent Brandon Matlock who forensically tracked the social media,” Turner said. “The message that law enforcement is sending is: If you decide to post cowardly messages which incite fear or disruption, we will charge you. In this law, those that repost the fake posts to further dramatize the fear will also be charged. I urge parents and guardians to help us by monitoring your children’s social media posts. We will use every resource to keep our students safe and support all of the teachers and administrators in Tipton County.”

Echo Day
Author: Echo Day

Echo Day is an award-winning journalist, photographer and designer. She is currently The Leader's managing editor.