Tahlequah, Skiatook Schools Respond To Social Media Threats

Thursday, October 6th 2016, 2:28 pm
By: News On 6

Tahlequah Public Schools is investigating a threat received via social media that was targeted for Thursday.

Cherokee County investigators said the threat went to a student via Instagram and claimed the student's school would be "shot up," but no school was specifically identified.

The Instagram account did not identify a person but contained a profile of a scary looking clown, according to the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office.

During their investigation, CCSO learned several students from several Cherokee County schools received the same threat.

None of the students were able to identify the person who sent the threat.

Again, no specific schools were ever mentioned but extra security precautions were taken to ensure the students' safety.

CCSO investigators were able to get information from Instagram that helped them identify the messages were sent from an address located in southwestern Cherokee County south of Tahlequah.

CCSO said several investigators went to the address and spoke with the homeowner and her juvenile brother and sister. They said the sister, a seventh grader at Woodall Elementary, admitted to sending the messages.

The girl told investigators she had no intention of causing physical harm and said she had no idea the prank would go as far as it did.

Skiatook Schools said they were also advised by police of a social media threat and locked down sites.

They delayed dismissal until 3:05 p.m. to ensure safety of students. In a Tweet, the school district said they were tagged in a threat against another school district. They do not specify what other school district was involved.

According to Skiatook Police Department the threat was not directed to the district, but, as a precaution, officers were posted at every school in the district.

The Tahlequah school administration notified parents before noon October 6, 2016, on its website and social media pages that a threat had been received by a middle school student. The school didn't specify what kind of threat was made.

"What we know right now is that the threat was targeted at Tahlequah Middle School and is also being investigated by our School Resource Officers," TPS stated in a notice on its website. "The district and local law enforcement are taking the threat seriously. This type of information spreads quickly so we want you to know that our School Resource Officers are on alert and are taking every precaution to keep your children safe."

Other threats have been made to the other schools in Cherokee County and are being investigated by local law enforcement, the notice states. 

Some parents went to the schools and checked their children out of school and others were waiting for more information from the district, according to the TPS Facebook page. 

It's not known if the two threats were related.