The incident began with a posting on social media after a student overheard three boys talking. One of the boys was heard saying “I’m going to shoot up the school tomorrow” and “I have a gun in my bag,” according to Snohomish County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Shari Ireton.
“When contacted, the male at first denied making the statements, then told deputies he was joking,” Ireton said.
Ireton also said the boys never produced a gun, but witnesses were still concerned about the comments.
Edmonds School District officials first heard about the incident around 9 p.m. The Sheriff’s Office had already been informed about the incident when district officials called them.
“We hope this incident will be an opportunity for parents to talk to their kids about social media and who to share it with,” School District spokeswoman Debbie Jakala said.
All three of the boys were interviewed by authorities, along with other witnesses. Only the boy who made the statement about shooting up the school was arrested. He was booked into the Denny Juvenile Justice Center for felony harassment.
Because the incident was quickly reported to authorities, Jakala said the school day on Thursday was normal, other than a slightly lower attendance than usual. The district first sent an email to families around midnight on Wednesday night, once the sheriff’s office was able to determine the credibility of the threat. Phone calls were then sent to families around 5 a.m. Thursday morning.
Jakala emphasizes that any students who hear or see anything suspicious should first tell a trusted adult, whether it’s a school official, a parent or 911.
“We take reports and rumors seriously,” Jakala said. “We need to ensure that as part of student safety, families are making decisions based on accurate information.”
The best way to get that accurate information, Jakala said, is to report any suspicious activity, so those with training and resources can work to determine its validity.