Following an alleged threat involving the Weedsport Central School District, a teenager has been arrested, police said.
The Weedsport Police Department student resource officer assigned to the school district took a complaint Wednesday, Oct. 26, from the district administration of a possible threat against the school community, according to a police department press release issued Friday. An investigation determined “the credibility of the threat … and the person who was responsible was identified by the SRO.” A 15-year-old was arrested and charged with making a threat of mass harm, a misdemeanor. The case is being handled in accordance with the state’s juvenile justice laws.
The police department thanked the school district and the Cayuga County Sheriff’s Office for helping with its investigation.
The district first addressed the incident in a direct message to students’ families and in a news release posted on its website Wednesday. It said school officials were made aware that day of “a Weedsport student-created video” on social media that communicated a threat of gun violence at the junior-senior high school.
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“Please know that the students involved have been identified and removed from the school grounds as part of the investigation,” the district said. “Moreover, no weapons were found to be on school grounds, and consequently there is no immediate threat and/or danger to our school or its occupants. An investigation is ongoing with local law enforcement which includes, but is not limited to, access to weapons, seriousness of threat, and appropriate consequences.”
On Thursday, some Weedsport residents began expressing concern on social media about how the district was handling the matter, saying that a student involved in the video was back at school. The district issued a statement to families in response to those concerns, but said there were limits on what information it could share.
“This is a situation in which assumptions may have been made relative to the creation, editing, and/or circulation of the video at issue. The District may only impose disciplinary consequences on students for behavior that violates our Code of Conduct,” the statement said. “While it can be difficult and frustrating for members of the school community (students, parents, caregivers and families) to be left with uncertainty relative to what action the District may have taken for any violations of the Code of Conduct, confidentiality is necessary to protect the privacy rights for any student(s) who may have been involved.”
The district said it can’t comment on what code violations might have occurred, “which student(s) may have been involved” and what consequences there may have been.
The district confirmed in that statement that law enforcement was handling “some aspects of the situation as a criminal matter” and directed questions on that to the police department.
The Weedsport incident followed two cases in the last week in which police officers arrested students for making threats against the Auburn Junior High School online. Members of the Auburn Police Department charged a 14-year-old junior high student with making a terrorist threat, a class D felony, on Oct. 21 after the student admitted to making a threat on Twitter. Days later, on Oct. 24, another junior high student, who the APD said was age 12, was charged for that same crime after admitting to creating a threat over social media. In those situations, the students said they were not being serious when forming their social media posts.
Staff writer Kelly Rocheleau can be reached at (315) 282-2243 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @KellyRocheleau.