Student charged in school threat
A 17-year-old female Newark High School freshman has been charged in connection with an online threat that prompted a heightened alert at the school on Monday.
The student, a Wilmington resident whose name police did not release, made the post on Instagram in response to news that a similar threat had been made against another school.
“It basically said Newark High School is not safe either and talked about how there would be a school shooting there,” said
Lt. Andrew Rubin, a spokesman for the Newark Police Department.
Early Monday morning, someone tipped off school officials, who called police around 6:45 a.m. The threat did not close the school, but extra officers were on site all day Monday.
The district posted a statement to the school’s website and used its automated phone system to inform parents, many of whom had already heard rumors about the threat, said Wendy Lapham, a spokeswoman for the Christina School District. “There was a great deal of concern from Newark High parents,” Lapham said. “We definitely had parents who came to the school to sign their students out.”
In the statement, Assistant Superintendent Ed Mayfield sought to reassure students and parents.
“As a precaution, we have placed Newark High School on heightened alert status,” Mayfield said. “The school will operate as a regular school day, but school staff and administrators will pay special attention to any suspicious individuals or behavior taking place near the school, and will follow up immediately with law enforcement.”
Rubin said the student had posted the threat on her own Instagram account and later deleted it, but the post had already been shared by other people. Detectives were able to work backward through the posts to track down the original poster, Rubin said.
There was no evidence the girl was actually going to carry out the threat, he added.
“Every threat is taken seriously,” Rubin said. “Just by posting a threat, that itself is a crime.”
The girl turned herself in to police on Tuesday. She was charged with terroristic threatening and released on a $500 unsecured bond.
Lapham said the student “will be disciplined according to the student manual.”
Rubin said the threat was in response to discussion of a threat on Snapchat against a DuPont school, which also circulated online Monday. Delaware State Troopers maintained an increased presence at A.I. DuPont High School, A.I. DuPont Middle School and H.B. DuPont Middle School but ultimately determined the threat was aimed at DuPont Middle School in Chicopee, Mass. Police in that jurisdiction have already made an arrest.
The Newark High incident came just days after students there joined hundreds of other schools in a national school walkout to call for an end to gun violence and to honor victims of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting.
An online threat prompted a heightened police presence at Newark High School on Monday.