Harrisburg Student Sends Threatening Social Media Message Sunday
Kids and Parents in Harrisburg, South Dakota received a scare on social media on Sunday night that is all too familiar and one that many in the community won't forget for some time.
Dakota News Now is reporting that around 6:00 on Sunday night, (September 25) people started to receive a threatening message via the social media platform 'Snapchat.'
The post included a picture of an assault weapon, along with the text "Wait til tomorrow,’ a threat to teach people a lesson, and a racial slur."
As you can imagine, the message began to spread like wildfire, with thousands of people receiving it within a very short time. That included the parents of children in both the Harrisburg and Sioux Falls School Districts.
Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Swenson told Dakota News Now that he was made aware of the message by 8:30 that night after receiving a number of concerned texts and phone calls personally regarding the situation.
Swenson immediately reached out to Lincoln County detectives and the Sioux Falls Police Department for assistance. The suspect responsible for sending the threatening social media message was quickly identified and arrested for making a terrorist threat by 10 PM that night.
Dakota News Now reports the suspect responsible is a student at Harrisburg High School. The male student is being charged with a Class 5 felony in South Dakota.
According to Dakota News Now, immediately after the suspect was apprehended, the Harrisburg School District let parents in the community know it was safe for their children to attend school on Monday, and that the district intended to have extra deputies on duty that day.
By mid-afternoon on Monday, the Harrisburg School District sent out the following message via email to all the parents in the district updating them on the situation:
Dear HSD Families & Staff:
Because we are limited in what information we can legally share, we cannot include much detail regarding an incident that arose last evening other than to say there was a threat on social media made toward the high school. The Harrisburg School District administration has been working with law enforcement. A formalized threat assessment is being completed and an arrest was made. The individual will not be in school for the foreseeable future. Please know, we will continue to work diligently to ensure the safety and security of all Harrisburg stakeholders. Any further questions can be directed to the Lincoln County State’s Attorney’s Office.
As you might remember, the city of Harrisburg is all too familiar with situations that involve gun violence in its schools. Back in 2015, a student brought a gun to school and ended up shooting the Harrisburg High School principal in the arm.
Threats like the one that happened on Sunday night, seem to occur about once a year in the district, according to Swenson. Typically it's “kids acting irresponsibly.” Fortunately, in this case, after a thorough investigation of the social media threat made on Sunday night, it was deemed to be not credible.
However, law enforcement and school officials take every threat of this nature very seriously and will do whatever it takes to keep the children in the community safe.
As Swenson says, what is gravely serious is the charge of a terrorist threat.
He told Dakota News Now, ”There’s nothing funny about it. You really terrorized 1600 students that go to that high school, and I don’t think that, for most of them, that’s not their intention. They don’t know the magnitude of how social media can be your worst enemy if you use it in the wrong way.”
Source: Dakota News Now