Two Henrietta High School students have been charged with making terroristic threats, a third-degree felony, after telling a schoolmate on Thursday that a school shooting was imminent.
The students, a 16-year-old male and 14-year-old female, were taken into custody shortly before 10 p.m. Thursday and later charged, said Clay County Sheriff Kenny Lemons. The two will remain in custody in the Wichita County Juvenile Detention Center pending a hearing on Monday.
Lemons said no guns or other weapons were found and there is no evidence that the students had plans or the means to carry out a violent act at any of the district’s three campuses. There is also no evidence that a third person is involved, as rumored on social media, said Lemons.
Clay County Sheriff’s Office began investigating the report of a planned school shooting at about 6 p.m. Thursday. Lemons said the suspects had told another student that they planned to commit the act, and that she should not attend school on Friday. With the investigation underway, Henrietta ISD administrators sent out text messages to notify parents of the threat, which quickly spread on Facebook and other social media sites.
“Basically what it was was two students trying to scare another student,” said Lemons, “and it worked.”
Lemons said sheriff’s deputies are patrolling campuses throughout the day to reassure parents that the schools are safe.
Henrietta ISD Superintendent Jeff McClure said the students involved will also face consequences at school pending the outcome of Monday’s hearing.
“We are going to look at it like the incident has interfered with the educational process,” said McClure.
The district is using the incident to study security measures in place, which were greatly increased in 2013 after the December 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
“I think it shows that when the community, law enforcement and school work together, action can be swift and prevent the possibility of anything bad happening at the school. The Clay County Sheriff’s Office worked aggressively to get the situation under control.” said McClure. “I feel like our protocols held up in this situation. It’s also an opportunity to see what works or can be improved upon.”