SHAKOPEE, Minn. (KMSP) - Several threats sent on Snapchat could lead to criminal charges for students at Shakopee High School. Officers say it was a prank done in poor taste.
At least two Shakopee High School students who circulated the threats now face possible legal and disciplinary consequences.
Each photo, sent over Snapchat Monday, came with a warning from teenage girls, two who are confirmed to be Shakopee High School students. In each image, the girls hold what appear to be real weapons with the caption “don’t come to school tomorrow.”
Screenshots of the photos made their way to the Concerned Citizens of Shakopee Facebook page, which sent a ripple effect of alarm across the district.
“We were able to determine very, very quickly that this was a joke on their part,” said Shakopee Police Chief Jeff Tate. “They thought it would be funny, the weapons are fake or are photo shopped in."
District leaders and police maintain the threats are not credible.
“This was some teenage girls that used very, very poor judgment and the school will be doing their thing in terms of disciplinary action,” said Chief Tate.
However, some parents told Fox 9 they think the students should be behind bars.
“[These] are some adult accusations classified as terroristic threats and to say that ‘oh we talked to those children and those guns are fake’ - they surely don’t look fake,” said concerned parent Kelly Pottier in tears.
“When will it be credible, when it happens?” asked Kim Hernandez, another parent. “You can’t apologize to parents who’ve lost their children in school shootings. It’s not fair. Something needs to done.”
Others concerned parents took precautionary measures. Paula Rodriguez says she kept her child from school on Tuesday.
“I’m not going to risk it on my child’s life, we’re still debating if we’re going to send her to school tomorrow,” said Rodriguez.
Chief Tate says the police department is taking the threats seriously and will send the case to the county attorney for review. For now, it's unclear whether or not criminal charges will be filed.
Shakopee Public Schools Interim Superintendent sent the following message to students' parents and guardians:
Following yesterday’s threats that were posted on social media, there have been many questions, concerns, and anxiety, all of which are understandable given the seriousness of the situation.
I want to provide you with an update that will hopefully put your mind at ease and reinforce this is a situation the district does not take lightly.
Thanks to our administrators and school resource officers, our high school opened today without any issues following the investigation into the social media posts and a determination there was not a credible threat to our students and staff.
District and high school staff, along with Shakopee police officers, welcomed our students and calmed any concerns they may have had upon arrival this morning.
Principal Jeff Pawlicki also made an announcement first hour to reinforce the school’s and district’s commitment to student safety as well as the need to understand the gravity of social media threats and the impact posts of that nature can have on an entire community.
Again, the actions by the individuals involved caused concern and anxiety for our students and families. Those who initiated the posts are facing legal and school disciplinary repercussions. Please understand that the school district cannot share names or specific information related to disciplinary action, due to data privacy laws. But, again, rest assured, the matter is being addressed.
As we continue to process the events that led us to this point, I would ask that families discuss this situation with their children and reinforce the importance of student safety. It should be a priority for all of us. This type of behavior should not be taken lightly. It is not a laughable matter. It is serious and can be hurtful to many.