Editor's Note: This is a press release from Dade Superintendent of Schools Jan Harris, with releases from Dade High principal James Fahrney and Sheriff Ray Cross, pertaining to safety at Dade schools.
Dear Parents and Community Members:
The purpose of this communication is to provide correct information regarding the safety incident that happened at Dade County High School this week. Additionally, I want you to know that we are working to increase safety at each of our schools in order to protect our most valuable resource - our precious students.
We share your concern for your student's safety. Safety is our number one priority. We are continually reviewing our safety plans in order to provide the safest school environment possible. We work closely with local law officials to plan and review emergency procedures. We notify Sheriff Cross and [Trenton Police] Chief Smith when students display dangerous behaviors (which is rare). We are looking at increasing the number of School Resource Officers.
The Board of Education provided state-of-the-art security through numerous cameras at each school facility several years ago. EMA Director Alex Case and law officials have access to these cameras. Our schools practice emergency drills regularly.
Please tell your students that threats to do harm to our faculty, staff and students will be taken seriously. Please tell them that we will work with officials to prosecute students who violate the law.
You are invited to a Parent Safety Meeting on Monday, March 5, at 5 p.m. in the Dade County High School auditorium.
Below please find a statement from DCHS Principal James Fahrney as well as a press release from Sheriff Cross.
Dr. Jan Harris
Message from Dade County High School Principal James Fahrney
There was a threat written on the bathroom wall on February 27, 2018, at DCHS. Thanks to a student who reported it to administration immediately, we were able to quickly identify the person responsible. We have been in contact with local law enforcement and charges are pending.
Please talk to your children about the seriousness of making threats and the possible consequences (suspension, alternative school, legal charges). Also, please let your children know intentionally spreading half truths and misinformation on social media could result in charges if it leads to a disruption in school. Any attempts to create panic or incite fear will not be tolerated.
If you have any questions, feel free to call the school at 706.657.7517. I will be glad to speak with you.
--Principal James Fahrney
Press Release from Sheriff Ray Cross:
On Tuesday, February 27, the Dade County Sheriff’s Office was notified by the principal at Dade County High School that someone had written a threat (“f*** this school, im killing all of you 2morrow”) on the bathroom wall inside the high school.
The school administrators investigated the incident and determined who potentially made the threat, based off of video evidence and witnesses. Dade County High School then provided our agency with statements, photographs, video, and a possible suspect.
The female suspect was immediately placed on suspension from the school, per the principal. Dade County detectives, along with Sheriff Cross, located the female suspect and brought her to the sheriff’s office for questioning.
After being interviewed by Dade County detectives, the female subject was taken into custody and charged with Terroristic Threats and Acts (felony, GA Code 16-11-37). She was then booked into the Dade County Jail, where she is currently being housed.
Sheriff Cross wants the community to know that the Dade County Sheriff’s Office takes these types of threats very seriously. He also wants everyone to know that these
types of incidents will be prosecuted to the fullest extent that Georgia law allows.
Editor's Note: Since his press release, Sheriff Cross's office has identified the student arrested as Alexus Couch, 18, of Rising Fawn, and issued this mugshot.