Schools Across Minnesota Deal with Social Media Threats Day after Orono Lockdown

Schools Across Minnesota Deal with Social Media Threats Day after Orono Lockdown Photo: KSTP

February 23, 2018 07:56 AM

UPDATE: Elk River High School Student Arrested for Threat Day after Orono Arrest

At least two Minnesota school districts report they received social media threats Thursday, one day after an Orono student was arrested for threats posted on social media.


Hill City canceled classes Thursday posting on Facebook, "threats have been sent through social media directed at some Hill City students." Law enforcement has been notified and investigating, the district said. 

The district added student safety is a top priority. 

RELATED: Minneapolis Students Walk Out of Classes to Voice Concern About Gun Violence in Schools 

In Elk River, school district 728 said a report was made by a high school student regarding a social media post that school staff investigated in multiple buildings. 

Parker Elementary was in "secure mode" for 10 minutes "due to communication related to the incident, asking students to remain in place in their classrooms and continue learning until given further notice. After the brief period, the school day continued as normal."

The district said it worked with law enforcement, determined there was not a threat, and stated classes would resume as normal.

"Student and staff safety remains our top priority. If we learn more, we will certainly keep you informed. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your building administrators," the district said. 

The St. Paul Police Department confirmed Cretin-Derham Hall reported a potential threat on social media late Wednesday night. After investigation, the threat was deemed not credible or valid, police said. 

"We are working with the school and are providing extra patrols today to assure the staff and students a safe environment," St. Paul police said in a statement. "No arrests have been made and the school is now handling the matter internally." 

Orono schools resumed classes Thursday but with tighter security after a five-hour, district-wide lockdown the day before.

RELATED: Orono District Under Tight Security as Students Return Following Lockdown

Police said the lockdown stemmed from two threatening social media posts with one specifying a shooting would happen in the district at noon.

Students, teachers and staff huddled in classrooms and other areas of school buildings waiting for updates. Meanwhile, authorities worked to identify the source of the posts.

RELATED: Lockdown Leaves Orono Parents Confused, Worried

Chopper 5 was there as one high school student was taken into custody. That student is facing charges of making terroristic threats. Police said another high school student was being questioned. No weapon was found, according to authorities.

In Wisconsin, a student in Madison was arrested for bringing a loaded handgun to school.

La Follette High School Principal Sean Storch said in an email to parents that after officials learned the student possibly had a gun on Wednesday, the educational resource officer confronted the teen who initially resisted being taken into custody.

Storch says a .22-caliber handgun was found by the officer. Officials say the student didn't make any threats against individuals or the school. Madison police say the handgun was loaded with ammunition.

The student was taken to the Dane County Juvenile Reception Center.

The threats come one week after a deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, where 17 students were killed at a high school. The incident has caused marches and demonstrations by students across the country.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump met with families and victims of school shootings.

RELATED: Again the Question: Could Armed Teachers Stop Shootings?

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Theresa Malloy

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