SVPD investigating social media threats concerning local school
TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - The Sierra Vista Police Department is investigating threats made over social media concerning Joyce Clark Middle School and individuals associated with the school.
Although there is no credible threat, SVPD has implemented additional security measures for the school with the Sierra Vista Unified School District. All threats of violence within the community are taken seriously and are thoroughly investigated.
According to the SVPD, the investigation began on Friday, September 15. The SVPD received information regarding videos posted on a social media site involving child sexual abuse material. The videos only depicted juveniles.
Authorities said the initial investigation identified a group chat on the site that students from the middle school used to communicate with other students.
During the initial investigation, several threats were made in that group chat concerning the school and specific individuals associated with the school.
According to the SVPD, these threats were made using the same account and username that posted the videos. Over the next several days, concerned community members made additional reports to SVPD concerning these threats. Several items of digital media were secured.
After follow-up interviews were conducted and individuals depicted in the videos were identified. Authorities said no additional threats have been received at this time.
The Sierra Vista Police said additional evidence, including the contents of the social media group chat, is being gathered with follow-up search warrants and ongoing interviews.
The SVUSD Superintendent’s Office released the following statement:
“We have recently been investigating social media threats that have targeted Joyce Clark Middle School. We have found that these threats are a result of an incident that occurred off school grounds and is not connected to the school or the school district. Unfortunately, all too often, these community incidents are brought into our schools and require the district to use its resources to investigate and attempt to solve the problem.
With regards to this current situation, the District has identified the individual who posted the threats online. We have taken steps to administer consequences to that individual. Privacy laws do not allow us to share any other information. While we appreciate the concerns of our parents, students and staff when threats such as these are made on social media, privacy laws prohibit or limit us from sharing information about students with the public. This creates doubt and raises questions from you, our community. You have a legitimate need to know what the school is doing to provide a safe environment for students and staff. It is frustrating for you and equally frustrating for us as an institution when we cannot provide specific details. Please know that the District takes each of these situations seriously. Once we have been made aware of a threat, we contact the Sierra Vista Police Department, and begin an investigation. If it is a building threat, we notify the parents of students in that building. If it is a district-wide threat, all parents are notified. We work closely with the SVPD, who also take these threats seriously.
Online threats and cyber bullying are a problem that we as a school district cannot solve by ourselves. The entire community must assist us if we are to be successful. We urge you to talk to your children about the dangers of making threats or bullying others online. We urge you to check your children’s cell phones and social media pages on a regular basis. Most of these threats occur over Snapchat or similar sites where the information disappears and cannot be retrieved. The disruption that is caused by these threats wastes valuable educational time, ties up our administration and local police, and stokes fear and concerns among students and staff. We ask for your help in this matter and will continue to keep you informed. "
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