DeKalb County

Prank calls forced lockdowns at 5 local schools, police say

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Students at five DeKalb County schools were locked down Thursday morning after police say someone called in threats to them.

According to DeKalb County Schools, someone submitted threats to schools in the Dunwoody High School cluster and other area schools, including Dunwoody High School, Dunwoody Elementary, Vanderlyn Elementary, Chesnut Elementary and Montgomery Elementary.

Police said these threats appear to be related to the threats made to schools in Dunwoody and DeKalb the week of Nov. 28.

When Channel 2's Mike Petchenik arrived at Montgomery Elementary on Thursday morning, he and his photographer found police had blocked the entrances to the school.

"It's crazy that this is their normal now.  It's unreal," parent Kelly Berdine said.

[READ: Multiple bomb threats made across metro Atlanta, entire country]

Berdine was among several parents waiting outside the school to see if their children were safe after police say someone called in a bomb threat.

“It's horrible. You can't send your kids to school without that thing in the back of your mind all the time," Berdine said.

Brookhaven Mayor John Earnst told Petchenik that he has two kids at the school. He said these threats are a sad sign of the times.

"I was never really overly concerned,” Earnst said. "This is stuff that happens. The people that propagated it wanted you guys to be here.”

The call at Montgomery was just one of multiple calls placed to DeKalb County elementary schools Thursday.


"We believe it may be the same person calling it in. The IP address came from outside the United States," said Carlos Nino, with the Brookhaven Police Department.

Parent Hilly Blondheim told Petchenik she was walking into Chestnut Elementary about the time the call came in.

"I hate that the world is like this now," Blondheim said. "All of a sudden, you saw a little (bit) of (a) scuffle, panic with the teachers."

She said officials quickly moved kids to a safe location.

"You saw people do what they were trained to do, and it was very quickly safe,” Blondheim said.

Police said similar calls came to the same schools just a few weeks ago, as did calls to the Decatur City School District.

Investigators said their goal is track down those responsible and charge them.

The Dunwoody Police Department sent Channel 2 Action News the following statement:

"This morning at 7:22 a.m., someone called in a bomb threat to Dunwoody Elementary School. Out of an abundance of caution, the school was evacuated and cleared by officers. We also received threats at Chestnut Elementary which was briefly placed on lockdown. These threats appear to be "Swatting” incidents and we have found no credible threat to our schools."

A letter sent to parents at Montgomery Elementary School said the school received a threatening phone call Thursday morning, leading to the lockdown.