Multiple agencies respond to threat against Priceville Junior High
Special to the Enquirer
At approximately 8 p.m. on Feb. 8 the Priceville Police Department and Morgan County Sheriff’s Office were made aware of a social media threat involving Priceville Junior High School.
According to authorities, an investigation was immediately launched by the Priceville Police Department, while the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office initiated its Threat Assessment Protocol with Morgan County school administrators.
“Throughout the night Priceville Police Department and Morgan County Sheriff’s Office spent approximately 153 manhours investigating the threat, locating and interviewing those involved,” according to a report from the PPD and MCSO. “While a threat was made, it was determined to not be credible and stemmed from a group snapchat conversation.
“From there, screenshots were made and circulated, with wise students and parents taking the initiative to contact law enforcement.”
In all, six students were located and interviewed, according to law enforcement. One faces potential charges for terrorist threat and will be referred to the juvenile court, and three face administrative action by the school system.
As a precaution, the sheriff’s office placed additional deputies at the schools, and Priceville Police Department had additional units in the area, with the school day starting without interruption.
“We take any threat against our area schools very seriously. The council and I appreciate the parents and students that contacted authorities and reported this incident,” said Priceville Mayor Sam Heflin. “Our Priceville Police Department, along with the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, worked tirelessly through the night to assess and handle this threat. I appreciate all the efforts of everyone involved to keep our students safe.”
Morgan County Schools Superintendent Robbie Elliott expressed similar appreciation. “I want to thank the Priceville Police Department, City of Priceville and the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office for their due diligence and speed to resolve this situation,” Elliott said. “We take all threats very seriously and will follow our board policy for appropriate action.”
Morgan County Sheriff Ron Puckett said he cannot stress how seriously his department takes any threat against area schools. “I am thankful for the work of the Priceville Police Department and our deputies and investigators,” he said. “Both groups worked through the night to ensure we could have a safe school day in Priceville. I am also thankful for the students and parents that took action and the cooperation from school administrators.
“The simple step to action can save lives and prevent tragedy,” he added. “Ironically, yesterday was Safer Internet Day, which is used to highlight the need to protect children from the dark side of social media and the internet.
“This event is a further reminder that we need to continue to help children navigate the challenges of social media and electronic communication. ”