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Update: Normal school activities resume at Dobyns-Bennett

Staff Report • Updated Nov 20, 2019 at 2:18 PM

UPDATE: Normal school activities have resumed at Dobyns-Bennett High School after a lockdown occurred earlier today, according to a news release from the Kingsport Police Department.

There was already a strong police presence at the school on Wednesday due to a threatening note found on campus the previous day, according to Tom Patton, public information officer for the Kingsport Police Department.

At approximately 12:05 p.m., Kingsport Central Dispatch received an unconfirmed citizen report alleging that two individuals had been seen walking in the nearby Highland community in the vicinity of the school and were possibly in possession of a firearm.

Additional officers converged upon the campus and surrounding neighborhood in both an investigatory and security-oriented role. Meanwhile, out of an abundance of caution, the school campus was placed on lockdown. When the lockdown was announced, with tensions already on edge, several students panicked and ran from the school, Patton said in the news release.

Officers providing perimeter security outside the school saw the students fleeing the school and went inside to investigate a possible cause for their alarm. Ultimately, following an extensive investigation, police said the presence of the alleged two armed individuals in the adjacent neighborhood was never verified, nor did any incidents actually take place on the school campus.

D-B student Garrett Payne said after a school dryer caught fire and was extinguished Wednesday morning, students were sent back to class as usual.

“I was going to the cafeteria and (school officials) started grabbing us and saying we’re going on a hard lockdown. They rushed us into the kitchen and locked us up. Anywhere they could hide us,” Payne said. “We didn’t know what was going on. Even the teacher said they had no clue what was going on.”

Junior Willow Rogers believes some students simply “freaked out” on Wednesday and he didn’t know if anything actually happened at the school.

“The fire alarm went off and freaked people out because they already knew about the threats. Then around 12:15 p.m. people were changing classes and then everyone started running around and screaming,” Rogers said. “I don’t think anything actually happened though.”

The campus lockdown was lifted and normal school activities resumed. A threatening note found on campus the previous day remains under active investigation by the Kingsport Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division.

As such, the Kingsport Police Department will continue to maintain an increased presence at Dobyns-Bennett for the remainder of the school day today and throughout the school day tomorrow.


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UPDATE: The lockdown at Dobyns-Bennett High School has now been lifted, according to Andy True, assistant superintendent for Kingsport City Schools.

There is a strong police presence at the school, according to a press release from Tom Patton, public information officer for the Kingsport Police Department. This presence is out of an abundance of caution in light of a threatening note recently found on campus and in response to unconfirmed issues of concern that have been reported and which are currently under investigation.

“We do want to make you aware that Dobyns-Bennett has gone into a lockdown today while KPD investigates an unconfirmed report that caused concern to authorities,” True said in an email to parents. “KPD has let us know that we are now cleared to return to class, and we are beginning our process to restart operations at D-B.”

At the time of the news release, there had been no confirmation of any actual incidents occurring on campus today. The increased police presence is strictly in a precautionary, security and investigatory role. Additional information will be released as it develops.


KINGSPORT — Kingsport police are on the scene of a lockdown at Dobyns-Bennett High School.

Reports say some students are sheltering in the cafeteria. Earlier this morning, students were briefly evacuated due to an unrelated dryer fire in the Career Technical Education building.

The Times News has a reporter on the scene and will have updates as soon as they’re available.