COLUMBIA - Columbia police have taken a 13-year-old male into custody Saturday in connection with a social media post community members perceived as threatening.
On Friday evening, Columbia police officers were notified of a social media post that seemed to threaten a middle school in the Columbia Public School system. Police identified who posted the message and contacted his parents, who cooperated with the investigation. The investigation revealed there was no credible threat.
At noon Saturday, the juvenile was taken into custody for Misdemeanor Peace Disturbance. According to the release, the Boone County Juvenile Office will handle disposition.
Friday afternoon, CPS emailed parents about the incident. See the full email below:
Dear CPS Families:
I am sending this letter in order to provide you with accurate information, to discourage rumors and to ask for your assistance. Many of you may be aware that there has been an increase in the number of rumors and chatter regarding a possible planned violent act at one of our schools – mostly in the form of a gun being brought to campus or a possible shooting. As with all threats, Columbia Public Schools and the Columbia Police Department have spent many hours thoroughly investigating the rumor and can find no credible evidence or validity to the reports. Information from the Columbia Police Department about the investigation is available here: https://www.como.gov/CMS/pressreleases/view.php?id=5489
We take the safety and security of our schools and students very seriously. We will not tolerate threats of any nature, especially when they cause continual disruption to the school day and result in countless hours of work to determine their validity and secure the safety of students and staff.
The statements and rumors being spread on social media constitute terroristic threats and are subject to punishment according to Board of Education policy, which could include, but is not limited to, expulsion from the school district. Students also need to be aware that law enforcement agencies are taking these threats very seriously and are pursuing prosecution even when such incidents are intended as pranks. Please make sure your child is aware of these ramifications and that he or she understands hoaxes related to campus safety will not be tolerated.
We need to come together as a community to end this disruption of learning. I urge you to talk to your children now and impress upon them the seriousness of threats in today’s society, especially in light of the recent tragedy. Ask them to notify you, the school, a trusted adult or law enforcement should they hear of any planned or potential disruptive behavior. We are grateful to students and parents that reported the social media posts directly to the school district, law enforcement and their parents. It's exactly what we ask our students to do. If you see something, say something.
The safety of our students and staff is our number one priority, and we will continue to be vigilant. Please feel free to contact your child’s school should you have any questions or comments.
I appreciate your continued support of a safe learning environment for our students.
Columbia Public Schools