DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — Susquehanna Township School District closed its doors for in-person learning on Friday, Dec. 10, in response to a social media threat. Solanco High School also moved to virtual on Friday in response to a threat.
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abc27 received a screenshot of the social media threat in which the individual wrote that they were going to “shoot up” the school on Friday. Others who found the social media post shared it warning their followers, “Please don’t go to school tomorrow for your safety everyone” and “Stay safe y’all.”
While STSD students were learning from home for the day, teachers were still asked to come into school in person.
Desiree Weaver, president of the district’s teachers’ union the Susquehanna Township Education Association, and the association’s Vice President Theresa Bowley sent a statement to union representatives at each district building Friday morning.
The statement said, in part, “The School District and the Association take this threat to be serious and credible. The Association has heard from many members that have concerns about reporting to the school buildings today. The association is concerned with the district’s decision for staff to report if the threat was serious enough for students to not report to the buildings.”
The statement continued, “I have expressed the Association’s concerns to the school district administration. The Susquehanna Township Education Association’s concern is for the health and safety of our members and the students that we serve. I will stay in contact with district administration throughout the day, and ask that all of our members and members of the general public stay diligent until this threat has been alleviated.”
In an interview with abc27, Weaver said, “It’s confusing when you speak about being concerned for the mental health of your workers and then you place the burden of an anxiety-driven day on their shoulders.”
In a joint statement from the school district and from Susquehanna Township Police Department, it was confirmed that the threatening Snapchat message did indicate there would be a shooting but did not specify a particular school. It is unclear at this time whether the Snapchat threats that led to the STSD and Solanco High School closures were the same threat or two separate threats.
After a student brought the message to the attention of an STSD staff member, the police were contacted.
“The health and safety of our team members and learners is our top priority. We decided to close schools for in-person learning out of an abundance of caution. The police conducted a thorough walk-through of each building before staff arrival this morning and have had a significant presence at each location. This decision allowed for virtual learning to continue, while the police department continued to investigate the claims. We are grateful to have a collaborative partnership with STPD and appreciate the ongoing support to ensure the safety of our students and staff,” Dr. Tamara Willis, STSD superintendent of schools, said.
Through investigation, it was also revealed that the message did not originate from within STSD or within Solanco High School, but it was “an old message that has been investigated outside of Dauphin County.”
“Social media postings included rumors only. However, the rumors online quickly became amplified and misinformation grew. The threat was determined to be not credible, but we needed to ensure we fully completed our investigation out of an abundance of caution,” Solanco High School said about the old Snapchat message in their updated Facebook post.
As of Dec. 10, 1:15 p.m., Robert Martin, Susquehanna Township’s public safety director, said the police could not comment on the status of the ongoing investigation.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates. Stay up to date on the latest from abc27 News on-air and on the go with the free abc27 Mobile app.