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School principal receives threatening e-mail
13-year-old taken into custodyBy Joel Griffin

COVINGTON - A 13-year-old boy was taken into custody by Newton County law enforcement Tuesday after he allegedly sent a threatening e-mail to the principal of Veterans Memorial Middle School.

According to Lt. Mark Mitchell, spokesman for the Newton County Sheriff's Office, authorities received word about the suspicious e-mail about 6:30 a.m. and immediately increased their presence at the school.

Mitchell declined to comment on any specific threats the e-mail contained or toward whom they were directed.

"We do have safety procedures in place at all of our schools, and Veterans Memorial followed those procedures," said Sherri Viniard, spokeswoman for the Newton County School System. "We also appreciate the fact that the sheriff's office sent additional security to the school this morning."

The school's resource officer and several other deputies were later able to track down the source of the e-mail, which led to the apprehension of the teenage suspect.

"The suspect has been arrested and charges are pending," Mitchell said.

According to Viniard, the suspect is not a student at the school.

"We've taken this opportunity to remind faculty and staff to always be aware of their surroundings and to report anything suspicious," Viniard said. "A letter will be sent home with each student today to inform parents about the e-mail. We're also cooperating fully with the sheriff's office during their investigation."

Joel Griffin can be reached at joel.griffin@newtoncitizen.com.