SPRINGFIELD — UPDATE @ 10:30 p.m: After a Springfield High School student was arrested on Thursday due to viral threats posted on Facebook about a school shooting, Superintendent Dr. Robert Hill released a statement about student safety.
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“As I have stated many times and as I will continue to reiterate, student and staff safety is of the utmost importance in our district. Threats, whether written, posted on-line, or verbalized to others, will be thoroughly and immediately investigated. Anyone involved in making threats will face serious disciplinary action and additional consequences to the maximum extent of the law”, said Hill.
Hill also said school will remain in session, but urges students to be diligent in reporting anything that “feels out of place”.
UPDATE @ 3:55 p.m. (Feb. 22):
A Springfield High School student was arrested Thursday after police said she posted a Facebook threat about a school shooting that went viral, causing districts across Clark County and the country to take precautions.
Authorities declined to name the 16-year-old, a junior, but Clark County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Travis Russell said she was charged with felony inducing panic in juvenile court.
Police Chief Lee Graf both declined to comment on the motives behind the post. The Facebook post was taken down soon after it was posted, Graf said, but it had already gone viral.
This news outlet was sent the post many times by concerned parents and community members.
The student was arrested at 10 a.m. Thursday at Springfield High School, Russell said.
The sheriff’s office and Springfield Police Division executed a search warrant at a home on Tibbetts Avenue around the same time, he said, and seized electronics that the student might have used to make the post.
Anyone who threatens the safety of children in Springfield will face consequences, Graf said.
UPDATE@ 2:05 p.m. (Feb. 22)
The girl arrested for allegedly making threats at Springfield High School is 16 years old, Clark County Sheriff Chief Deputy Travis Russell said during a press conference Thursday afternoon. She is being charged with inducing panic, a second degree felony, and could face several years in prison if convicted.
When police got word of the threat they executed a search warrant and searched the school before classes started, officials said.
“You can’t be dismissive when you get these types of threats,” Russel said.
UPDATE @ 11:45 a.m. (Feb 22)
The Clark County Sheriff’s Office made an arrest Thursday in correlation to the ‘S.H.S.’ school threat circulating on social media.
The FBI and Clark County Deputies were able to obtain information on the location of where the social media post was made. The Springfield Police Department and Clark County Sheriff’s Office then executed a search warrant, seizing a number of electronic devices. Subsequently, the both divisions were able to obtain further information, which resulted in a juvenile being taken into custody. The juvenile in custody is a 17-year-old female student at Springfield High School, according to police.
The teen is facing felony inducing panic charges, authorities.
Authorities report the threat is now considered neutralized, but this case will continue to be investigated by multiple agencies.
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Local law enforcement and school officials are aware and investigating reports on social media of possible threats against a school.
The vague social media post referenced a "SHS" school, which could include any one of many schools in the area that start with the letter "S."
- Springfield, Stebbins, Springboro, and others have investigated "SHS" threat
- Threat deemed not credible by police
- Police believe post originated in Springfield
- Extra patrols reported at many schools
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UPDATE @ 10:14 a.m.:
Springfield Police Chief Lee Graf said it appears the “SHS” school threat that spread through social media Wednesday originated in the city of Springfield.
“Through the night we have been following up on leads,” Graf said. “"We have some suspects that we are looking at...We may be very close to origin of the original post."
Graf said the threat went viral, leading to calls coming in to the department from Mississippi and California regarding the post.
The chief said multiple jurisdictions, including the FBI, have been involved in the investigation.
UPDATE @ 9:20 a.m.
Bob Hill, Superintendent of Springfield City Schools said class attendance is "light" at Springfield High School, following a generic threat to a "SHS" school.
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The threat to the school was determined to be not credible Wednesday night, Hill said.
“We take threats very seriously,” Hill said Thursday morning. “This affects many schools in Clark County, Springfield, Shawnee High School, Southeastern High School; this has some pretty serious and far-reaching ramifications.”
“I do know the FBI was involved last night; the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and the Springfield Police Division also.”
An FBI spokesman confirmed the agency is investigating the threat, but is working with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and Springfield police, who are leading the investigation.
Hill said another rumor surfaced at the district that a gun was found at the high school Wednesday, but Hill said this report turned out to be false after it was investigated by the school.
Southeastern Local Schools Superintendent David Shea said leaders in the district are also taking precautions in light of the threats.
“We have three South Charleston Police officers at our high school and two at Miami View Elementary School today,” Shea said.
A number of police officers will remain at the school all day, Shea said.
A number of students stayed home, likely out of fear of the threat, Shea said, and he understood the concerns of parents due to recent school shootings nationwide.
Lt. Jeff Williams of Springfield police said since Tuesday evening when reports surfaced of an 8-year-old male arrested for an unloaded gun at Simon Kenton Elementary, that many social media posts have surfaced and been shared.
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Williams said many “rumors” are being investigated by Springfield police. He said police believe it is “misinformation” circulating around and they do not believe any credible threat exists.
However, Springfield police will have extra patrols at the high school Thursday.
Parents in the Mad River Local Schools — as well as Springboro — were issued one-calls Wednesday evening.
The Mad River call from the superintendent said they are aware of a social media threat against "SHS" and are investigating whether it was directed to Stebbins High School or another school.
“Every school that starts with an “S” has done that,” Williams said of being on alert.
In an email sent to Springboro parents Wednesday night, the district said the school resource officer and administrative team has been in constant contact with the Springboro Police Department.
Williams said officers spent most of Wednesday tracking down social media posts and speaking with witnesses in Springfield.
Williams said they don't know who exactly made the post yet but they are in the process of tracking the source of the post.
“We are investigating every possible lead,” Williams said.
He added even the FBI called Springfield to offer assistance — if they need it, but the FBI is not involved at the moment.
Williams said Springfield police are fielding calls from police agencies in other states with "S" schools. He declined to share which states have made inquiries.
Springfield High School's website now includes a message on the homepage about this social media threat. School will be in session Thursday.
The Clark County Sheriff's Office Wednesday evening said they are also investigating these threats.
In Shelby County, the Sidney school district posted to its website that it is aware of the threat. In their post it says law enforcement determined the post was made from outside of Ohio. That district will have increased patrols Thursday.
Toledo police sent a tweet about the threat, saying it’s likely a hoax, but is being taken seriously.
Alert: We have received many tips on a message circulating social media. It’s unclear if it originated in the local area and is likely a hoax. However, your #toledopolice #detectives are taking it seriously and actively tracing its origin. Follow guidance from your school. pic.twitter.com/3eYFgrUm1B— Toledo Police (@ToledoPolice) February 22, 2018