2nd child threatens school

Published 4:13 am Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Authorities find suspect; student faces legal, school consequences

Law enforcement and school officials on Monday said they want to reassure parents that they take threats made against the school seriously.

But they also want students to know that there are serious repercussions for making threats.

The comments came on the heels of social media threats made Sunday about Red Level School.

“A juvenile did post a threat to Red Level School on Sunday,” Sheriff Dennis Meeks said. “We found out about it around 5:30 p.m. and contacted investigators.”

Several law enforcement agencies were brought into the investigation, including the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. Meeks said Investigator Brett Holmes of the Covington County District Attorney’s office assisted in composing a search warrant for Facebook, and investigators were able to determine the IP address and coordinates to determine the household in which the threat was posted.

“It was a little boy who lives with his grandparents,” Meeks said. “We talked to him and he confessed.”

Meeks said, “It was not a hoax, but there was never a threat to the school.”

The boy is being charged, Meeks said, and his case will be handled by the Department of Youth Services. There were no weapons in the home, he said, and the child said he was hoping school would be cancelled.

It was the second threat made by an adolescent against county schools in the space of a week. A third threat, made against “SHS,” was also investigated last week. Both adolescents were charged.

“I would consider Sunday’s event a non-credible threat,” Covington County Schools Superintendent Shannon Driver said. “I am thankful we received the information from the public, and we were able to resolve the investigation in a matter of hours.”

However, he said, both children also face disciplinary measures at school.

“There are some very serious ramifications to their actions,” Driver said.

He asked each principal in the county system to meet with their students on Monday or Tuesday and explain the seriousness of making such threats.

“Not only will they face consequences, but their family is affected, the school is affected, and law enforcement is affected,” Driver said. “The threats put a lot of things in motion. I don’t think they really understand how seriously law enforcement officers take it. That needs to be conveyed to the kids.”

Sheriff Meeks also encouraged parents to talk with their children.

“If they are going to give smart phones to students who are 10 and 12 years old, they need to explain to them what they should and should not do,” he said. “Parents have to take responsibility for what their children do.”

Despite assurances from law enforcement and school personnel that there was no threat to students on Monday, some parents opted to keep children at home.

“Thankfully, with law enforcement’s help, we were able to make the determination that there was no credible threat, and it was OK to have school,” Driver said. “If we had thought there was any threat to students, we would not have had school.”