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Police Say Threat To Lebanon School ‘Not Credible’

Published: 6/11/2017 12:54:53 AM
Modified: 6/11/2017 12:54:55 AM

Lebanon — Lebanon police have determined that a threat reportedly made on Friday via social media by a Lebanon Middle School student to “shoot up” the school was not credible.

In a news release, police said they received a call on Friday afternoon from a parent who said her child had heard a 13-year-old male student say he was going to “shoot up” the school, and that a photograph of the boy with a gun was sent via Snapchat.

Police notified the Lebanon School District, reviewed digital communications and social media, and interviewed potential witnesses and involved parties. “At this stage of the investigation we have determined that the threat as reported was not credible. Out of an abundance of caution, and with the assistance of the Grantham Police Department, a firearm was voluntarily turned over for safekeeping,” the release said.

Superintendent Joanne Roberts told parents and staff about the threat in an email alert sent to the school community on Saturday. In a telephone interview on Saturday afternoon, Roberts said she got a call from Lebanon Middle School Principal Martha Langill, who told her that she had been contacted by someone in the community who pointed out a potentially threatening picture that had been put on social media.

“We took immediate action and we contacted the police department,” Roberts said.

Before sending out the email, Roberts said, she spoke with Superintendent Jacqueline Guillette of the Grantham School District, which sends students to Lebanon beginning in seventh grade.

The Lebanon Police Department will have an increased presence in and around the city’s schools this week, the police news release said.

Student social media threats are an emerging point of concern for education officials and law enforcement officers across the state, and beyond.

In April, news agencies across New Hampshire reported that a Nashua High School South student was arrested after posting pictures of several guns to Instagram, along with text insinuating that he would use them to commit violence.

In May, the Concord Monitor reported that two Rundlett Middle School students had been taken out of their homes following threats against fellow students made on social media. And about three weeks ago, New Hampshire State Police investigated and ultimately decided that a Snapchat-based threat made by a student at Fall Mountain Regional High School in Langdon was not credible.

In Vermont, South Burlington High School was the target of a series of threats through email and social media in April that led to lockdowns and early dismissals. Essex High School also was the target of a phoned-in threat that month that prompted similar precautionary measures.

Roberts encouraged those in the community to call school officials or police if they see a potential threat on social media.

“I’d much rather respond to something that is not anything, than not know and not be able to respond,” she said.

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