CAMDEN — Preble Shawnee students were sent home early on Tuesday, Oct. 6 after an unknown individual posted threats to carry out a school shooting on social media.
According to Superintendent Dr. Matt Bishop, School Resource Officers were alerted and students and staff at Preble Shawnee Junior and Senior High were put on lockdown for nearly two hours after school administrators were made aware of the threat, which came in the form of a pair of messages posted to the popular mobile messaging platform Snapchat.
Students and staff were unable to leave their secured classrooms while the lockdown was in effect, and access to and from the school building was tightly restricted as well. Since the Snapchat message specifically referenced the high school, Camden Primary was put on “soft lockdown,” meaning that access to and from the building was prohibited, while students and staff inside were otherwise allowed to go about their business.
Students in grades 7-12 began being sent home at 11:30 a.m., according to Bishop, while PK-6 students were dismissed at around 12:15 p.m. Students returned to school normally on Wednesday, Oct. 7.
School administrators are working closely with the Preble County Sheriff’s Office to determine the source and seriousness of the threat, according to Bishop.
“We’ve spoken to several students trying to get to the bottom of who posted these statements,” Bishop said. “We’re interviewing kids and trying to get as much information as possible.”
Bishop expressed confidence that investigators are close to identifying the source of the messages, as well as doubt that the postings represent a credible threat of violence.
“I think it was just an unfortunate posting by a student, or whoever it was, who was trying to get a lot of attention,” Bishop said.
The consequences could still be severe, however; if the guilty party is discovered to be a student, they would face an immediate ten-day suspension, which would likely be followed by expulsion.
Bishop praised the students and staff at Shawnee, as well as the Preble County Sheriff’s deputies and Camden Police officers who assisted during and after the lockdown.
“Unfortunately these things are becoming all too common, but our students and staff knew what to do, and parents responded quickly in coming to pick up their children,” Bishop said. “The Sheriff’s Office did an amazing job as well; they were quick, and provided excellent guidance in helping us make a decision to release or not release.”
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook or Instagram @mproperenglish