By Leah Craig
According to a statement released by the Fowlerville Police Department, state and local police are currently investigating a school shooting threat made by a student over Snapchat.
The threat was made by a Fowlerville High School student and consisted of statements like “watch out Fowlerville” and expressed an intent to “shoot up the school.”
An administrator at Fowlerville High School brought the social media post to the attention of Sgt. Jeffrey Soli, the district’s Liaison Officer on Monday afternoon, leading to a joint investigation effort between the Fowlerville Police Department, the Livingston County Sherriff, and the Michigan State Police. After interviewing the student and family, it was determined that the student’s Snapchat account had been hacked and that another student had posted the threat. Officer Richmond of the Fowlerville Police Department interviewed the student and parents, and the student admitted to hacking the initial student’s account and posting the threat in an attempt to get the initial student in trouble.
“As law enforcement officials review situations like this, they take many factors into consideration including confirming that the person who posted the threat actually made the threat, access to weapons, motive, etc.,” said district superintendent Wayne Roedel in a message to Fowlerville staff and families. “The decision to deem the threat not credible takes thorough analysis and deliberation between multiple law enforcement agencies.”
The threat comes amidst a wave of mass shootings across the nation. Since the May 14th shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, there have been over four dozen mass shootings, including the May 24th attack on an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas that left 21 dead. According to NPR and the Gun Violence Archive, there have been approximately 246 mass shootings in the U.S. this year, an average of eleven per week.
No doubt influenced by the influx of tragedies, the Fowlerville Police Department worked quickly to address the threat, stating that it “takes all threats to our community very seriously and will prosecute any offender to the fullest extent of the law.”
Superintendent Roedel added that the student who actually posted the threat will be prosecuted and all applicable school policies will be followed. In accordance with the Fowlerville Student Handbook, such threats and misuse of technology are grounds for expulsion.
Currently, law enforcement is seeking charges for fraudulent access to computers, systems, and networks, as well as using a computer to commit a crime and make terroristic threats– a life offense in the state of Michigan.
While the threat was deemed not credible, there will be increased law enforcement presence on campus for the remaining days of the school year.