5 NEWS UPDATE: Multi-Department Investigation On-Going in School Threats
Written by Nicole Porter
Last updated on February 14, 2013 @ 7:50PM
Created on February 14, 2013 @ 9:29AM
5 NEWS UPDATE: 2/14 5:40 p.m.
Clarksburg Police Chief Marshall Goff said late Thursday afternoon that investigators are still looking into the threat, which is believed to have originated in Ohio. He said the FBI in Dayton, Ohio is talking with a subject in the case.
On Wednesday night, police became aware of the threat that somehow started after a video chat. On Thursday, investigators in Clarksburg talked to a few people at Washington-Irving Middle School, which is where the initial threat supposedly targeted.
Chief Goff said the threat wasn't credible but the police and the school office thought they needed to treat it like it was.
"It wasn't a credible threat. It was something of kids getting on social media sites and it grew from there. We're going to do what we have to do to keep their children safe and the community safe. The children are first in our minds and we are committed to that," said Chief Goff.
Superintendent Susan Collins said all plans were coordinated through her office, led by School Safety and Enforcement Officer Ken Winkie, the police department and the prosecutor's office.
Collins also said that students were safe in the schools. Despite her confidence, WI was down hundreds of students in the classrooms on Thursday. She went on to say that state law dictates that an absence is an absence but it was parents' decisions on what to do with their children.
A lot of parents posted on social media sites that they did not feel comfortable sending their sons and daughters to classrooms with the possible threat.
Others close to the investigation said that social media played a role in creating this fear. They said some things became twisted.
"Things were said and continue to be said that's not factual in nature and it does cause parents and just regular civilians to panic. This school today was prepared and had extra officers assigned to it," said Winkie.
The Bridgeport Police Department and the Department of Emergency Services released a statement around 10:30 a.m. regarding the threats. It read:
"On-going investigation has determined that the information released on Facebook regarding threatened school violence against Bridgeport schools to be inaccurate. At this time, no credible threat has been identified. Both Harrison County Schools initially mentioned in the threat are open. Bridgeport PD has assigned additional patrols to the schools to ensure our students safety and to alleviate fears in response to these false threats."
The investigation is still going on and police hope to have it wrapped up in the next few days.
5 NEWS UPDATE 2/14 12:00 p.m.
Extra officers have been called in to both Robert C. Byrd High School and Washington Irving Middle School after an online threat went viral. The threat is believed to have started a few days ago as a video chat among a couple of young ladies and an individual in Ohio.
There were rumors that spread on social media sites that Bridgeport schools were also involved, but Bridgeport officials have confirmed that they are not under any type of threat.
5 NEWS UPDATE: 2/14 9:52 a.m.
5 News just spoke with Harrison County Schools Superintendent Susan Collins. She said that her office was made aware of the threat Wednesday night. Collins said her office, led by Ken Winkie, the Safety and Enforcement Officer for the schools, coordinated with the Clarksburg Police Department and the Prosecutor's Office as soon as they found out. They had a plan in place to have officers in the school Thursday morning.
She said she is confident the students are safe in the schools.
Again, she would not go into details about the specific threat but said she believes this is an example of things spreading and changing over social media.
ORIGINAL: 2/14 9:30 a.m.
Clarksburg Police investigators were monitoring both Washington-Irving Middle School and Robert C. Byrd High School Thursday morning after an apparent threat went viral over the internet.
Police aren't releasing details on what the threat is but they said they don't think it was a credible one.
Officers were at both schools while students went to school in the morning and they're at the schools monitoring what is going on.
Chief Marshall Goff said the Board of Education was also present at the schools.
Investigators will be going back and forth between the schools all day.
Stay with 5 News for the latest.
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