BOONE COUNTY, Ky. (FOX19) - Two high-school students appeared in juvenile court Tuesday morning after the Butler County Sheriff’s Office says they threatened to shoot up the school on social media.
The boys, both 14 years old, are students at the Ignite Academy in Boone County.
Around 3:30 p.m., according to the sheriff’s office, school staff told their S.R.O deputy of the students’ threat.
Deputies interviewed the students separately, and each student reportedly admitted to making the threat.
One student showed investigators the Snapchat post he sent to other students stating, “Don’t come to school tomorrow,” accompanied by a green gun emoji and a dynamite emoji, the sheriff’s office says.
The other student claims the so-called threat was a joke.
“We take these threats seriously,” Boone County Schools Community Relations Coordinator Barbara Brady wrote in a statement, which is embedded below. “We have a no-tolerance policy for this kind of behavior. The safety of our students and staff is our priority.”
Sheriff’s office deputies took the students into custody Monday evening and lodged them at the Campbell Regional Juvenile Detention Center. The students, according to the sheriff’s office, are charged with terroristic threatening in the second degree, a class D felony.
“This is just an indicator that the court-designated worker and the judge are taking these threats a little more seriously—and locking them up,” Boone County Sheriff’s Office Maj. Tom Scheben told FOX19 NOW. “(It) should send a message to their friends and others, who might think twice before they act ridiculously.”
The incident represents the third school shooting threat handled by local investigators in recent days.
On Saturday, a 13-year-old boy was arrested for making a school shooting threat against R.A. Jones Middle School in Florence, Ky.
One day before that, a 12-year-old student was arrested for falsely reporting to 911 dispatchers there was a gun at a Springboro Junior High dance.
FOX19 NOW asked Boone County Schools Director of Pupil Personnel Mike Ford what makes students do this.
“The children are maybe exhibiting these behaviors because of a mental health issue,” he explained. “Anger, for example, or whatever the case might be. And we want to provide correctness to the behavior. We want to help the child overcome any mental issues.”
In a lot of cases, he says, the student’s family might not know where to turn. That’s where the schools can come in.
“If we find out a mental health issue contributed to this behavior," he said. “I can assure you we will work with the family to find mental health counseling services for that child.”