CHURCH HILL — Assault charges were filed in Hawkins Co. Juvenile Court against a Volunteer High School student last week after an investigation to a threatening text message and photo that he sent to his ex-girlfriend.
Hawkins Co. Sheriff’s Deputy Richard P. McGinnis said in a report that he was contacted on Sept. 3, 2019, by VHS Principal Bobby Wines who asked that the officer come to his office.
There, he met with the 17-year old victim and her mother who were speaking with the principal.
The victim showed McGinnis a photo of a message she had received from the 15-year old boy which included a photo of him “holding in his hand a pistol”, the deputy said.
The message above the photo read: “I will shoot ya ass”, and also in the same message, a statement by the suspect that said, “I will bring it to school”.
The threats were allegedly made on Aug. 31, 2019.
“The suspect was retrieved from his class in the library by the principal and myself,” McGinnis stated.
After questioning by the principal, the boy admitted to both Wines and McGinnis to sending the messages, and showed McGinnis where the photo was located on his phone.
“The suspect stated that the gun was just a toy (C02 cartridge pistol),” the deputy said.
His mother was contacted and during a Sept. 3 meeting with the parent, signed a consent to search her son’s phone.
After the investigation, a petition for assault was filed against the boy in Hawkins Co. Juvenile Court.
Director of Schools Matt Hixson told the Review that disciplinary action, on behalf of the school, was rendered by Wines.
The incident was deemed a Level 4 infraction, “commission of a crime other than a Zero Tolerance” incident, “which is 30 days at Pathways Alternative School”, Hixson said.
“Student’s actions were determined not to be a Zero Tolerance event, but were deemed serious in nature,” Hixson said. “Law enforcement was immediately consulted. Law enforcement did take action. Student was dealt with appropriately by site administration.”