Mt Pleasant News
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Neighbors Growing Together | Jun 25, 2018

Mt. Pleasant Middle School student’s online ‘joke’ taken seriously as threat by police

May 22, 2018

By Karyn Spory, Mt. Pleasant News

 

A Mt. Pleasant Middle School student was the cause of an investigation into an online threat made against the school on Monday, May 21.

According to a news release, the Federal Bureau of Investigation received a complaint about a student referencing violence against a school. The threat was a “vague” statement made on a YouTube video, which according to the student was meant to be a joke.

Mt. Pleasant Community School District Superintendent John Henriksen said the adage “see something, say something” worked in this case. “Someone must have seen something online and must have contacted their local law enforcement, I don’t know, but it made its way to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and then worked its way down to (our) local law enforcement.”

Henriksen said the middle school was notified by the Mt. Pleasant Police Department of the threat at approximately 3:30 p.m., Monday. Police identified the student and interviewed them as well as their parents. The student admitted to making the statement and said it was “meant to be a joke.” Police also searched the student’s residence, finding no items of concern, including firearms, according to Henriksen. Mt. Pleasant Police Chief Ron Archer would not comment on what police were searching for.

“It is absolutely not a joke, it’s very serious,” said Henriksen. “Unfortunately it is something we have to teach our kids. (Making a threat) is very serious and the consequences are serious.”

The student was released to the custody of their parents pending the consideration of charges. Mt. Pleasant Police Chief Ron Archer said the investigation into the threat still is ongoing. “Once the investigation is complete we will speak with the Henry County Attorney’s Office to see if charges are warranted or not.” Henriksen said the school district will continue to work with federal and local law enforcement officials, and legal counsel to determine appropriate disciplinary action. The student was not allowed on campus Tuesday.

Henriksen as well as members of the Mt. Pleasant Police Department met with middle school administration, faculty and staff Tuesday morning to discuss the threat and answer any questions. During the meeting, according to Henriksen, the Mt. Pleasant Police told staff they did not feel deviating from the building’s regular procedures was necessary. Mt. Pleasant Middle School Principal Nathan Lange did recommend teachers keep students in the classrooms today. If kids did need to leave the classroom to use the bathroom, teachers were advised to send them one at a time and make sure they had a pass in hand. “That way if someone meets them in the hallway they know where they’re going and why,” said Henriksen.

Teachers were also advised to answer student questions they felt comfortable with and direct specific questions to middle school administration or the district office.

The online threat came days after a school shooting in Santa Fe High School in Texas, which left 10 people dead.

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