Stu­dent charged in school threat

Newark Post - - FRONT PAGE - By JOSH SHAN­NON jshan­non@ches­pub.com

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.

NE­WARK POST FILE PHOTO

An on­line threat prompted a height­ened po­lice pres­ence at Ne­wark High School on Mon­day.

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