UPDATE: Columbia administrators respond to reported threat
COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Schools sent out a release Friday afternoon to the families of CPS, clarifying that they will not tolerate threats or rumors of threats in any manner. The first part of the email is as follows:
"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."
CPS has said while they will remain vigilant, they ask that the community comes together to end disruption of learning. Students are asked to take threats seriously and report them to parents, the school or law enforcement.
COLUMBIA - Police increased their presence at area schools Friday following an investigation into a reported threat.
The investigation started around 9 p.m. Thursday when police learned about the threat to Columbia schools, specifically middle schools. Officers determined the threat wasn't credible, and had come from a social media account which posted similar threats around the country. Police said an arrest had been made in Ohio in connection with the account.
On Friday, police started looking into another possible threat, but determined it was just a sharing of the post investigated on Thursday. As a precaution, officers and detectives went to several schools to follow up on any leads or other relevant information.
In a release sent Friday afternoon, the police department said the following:
"From the beginning of these incidents we have been working closely with Columbia Public Schools to ensure we are operating on the most accurate information possible and working to keep everyone safe. We want to thank all the parents, students, and school staff who promptly shared information with administration and/or the Columbia Police Department. We cannot stress enough how important it is for everyone to be vigilant and as always, if you SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING."