MEMPHIS, Tenn. — UPDATE 12/8/2021 - The Soulsville Charter School is returning to in-person learning Wednesday as the investigation continues into a threat to the campus Monday. School leaders tell ABC 24 that heightened security measures are in place.
The following is the letter sent to parents and guardians Tuesday:
Dear TSCS Parents and Guardians Only,
Although we were saddened by the need to shift to remote learning for the last couple of days, we are excited to resume in-person classes tomorrow (Wednesday, December 8) and to get back to what we do best: preparing our students for success in college and life in an academically rigorous, music-rich environment.
We would like to thank all Soulsville community members (parents, students, staff, etc.) who reached out about this incident and have supported the efforts to get to the bottom of the situation. Soulsville has always been a safe place to learn and grow, and you are doing your part to protect our community! We are also grateful to our local police station for their assistance with this matter.
Overview of the Situation
Parents and guardians, we are providing this information to you this evening so you have an opportunity to discuss with your child before school tomorrow.
- Students, families, and staff started reporting a threatening comment from social media between 9:00 and 10:00pm Sunday night.
- We promptly made the call to inform police at the Crump police station, and they began their investigation into the following online message: "monday i'll murder all them m*therf**kers at soulsville"
- After following several leads, police made the decision to get their special investigative unit involved and continue the next morning (Monday morning).
- With the investigation continuing the next day and not yet having enough info, we made the call to err on the side of caution and cancel in-person learning and our vax event for Monday as police continued their investigation.
- On Tuesday, police continued their investigation and were able to determine the platforms upon which the message was created and reposted, and they reported this situation to Homeland Security.
- The MPD investigative team covered a lot of ground on Tuesday, and we now know that the situation stemmed from an on-campus conflict between students that was then taken to social media where one or more students who do not attend Soulsville got involved.
- The threatening comment occurred during an argument in a private digital space between two children associated with the Soulsville children who had the conflict on campus. Police have access to the entire argument.
- Now that we know a lot more about the circumstances under which the comment was made and the Soulsville students involved, we have decided to return to school as the police continue to work toward a close and will welcome our students back to campus with increased safety precautions in place on tomorrow (Wednesday, December 7), including adult and police presence during arrival, personal belongings checks during extended uniform check, heightened monitoring of entries and exits, and increased vigilance from everyone. We are requiring that the students connected to the situation stay home until further notice.
- Point of clarity: We were allowed to hold in-person classes on Monday and Tuesday, but we chose not to do so as a precaution until we learned more.
Additional Safety Precautions for Our Return
- Tomorrow morning, arrival will feel different than usual as there will be a police presence to welcome everyone back, and we will check everyone's personal belongings. Just like the random locker checks that already happen periodically (as outlined in our handbook), students can expect morning checks to occur randomly as we move forward. We will also have a treat for everyone to let them know that we missed them.
- There will also be heightened vigilance throughout the day amongst staff and our security team.
- We will also provide a special opportunity for socio-emotional support for students during the day tomorrow.
- Our community did a great job of keeping us safe by reporting dangerous activity. Keep it up! Here are some examples of things you should report:
- You are aware of a student being in possession of a prohibited item (dangerous items, weapons, alcohol, etc.)
- You see a non-TSCS student on campus without a visitor badge
- You are aware of tension between students on campus during the school day
- You are aware of an altercation that took place between students
- You are aware of tension on social media
It is everyone's responsibility to report these things so that everyone can safely continue preparing for college and life success.
12/7/2021 - The Soulsville Charter School will remain on virtual learning Tuesday as the investigation continues into a threat to the campus Monday.
In a letter sent to parents, the school said it was erring on the side of caution, going on to say, "With the safety of our students and campus at the forefront of our minds, we are canceling in-person classes one more day as police continue toward closing their investigation."
12/6/2021 - A Memphis school is holding virtual classes on Monday as police investigate a potential campus safety threat.
According to a statement from The Soulsville Charter School, school leaders contacted the Memphis Police Department and they began an investigation when the threat was received.
Out of an abundance of caution, the school said in-person classes have been canceled.
The school said it has reached out to families over email and phone calls and more information will be provided to them as soon as possible.
No further details were released.