Montgomery County Police say that Clarksburg High School student may be in a heap of trouble with Montgomery County School after he made a threat to shoot up the school on social media, but MCPD says the threat was not credible and the student had no way to carry out the threat.
MCPD spokesman Capt. Paul Starks spoke to reporters outside of the 5th District Police Headquarters in Germantown on Sunday evening. Starks said MCPD received a call just after midnight, on April 2, saying that there was a posting a social media account that was making threatening remarks about Clarksburg High School and that community. Officers responded and spoke to the complainant and began an investigation to determine who owned that account and who had created that posting.
The posting on Instagram read, “I can shoot up Clarksburg High School better than Columbine. But I won’t do that because I still have a lot of friends that care about me,” and then in red letters, the post continued, “But I will if I reach a point of anger. No kidding.”
MCPD confirmed that the posting was made by a 15-year-old student who attends Clarksburg High School.
According to Starks, “Sometime this morning, a detective and an officer, went to that student’s home. The detective and the officer spoke with the student and his father. He was very embarrassed and remorseful and stated that he was in no way serious when he made that posting. He admitted that he is going through some stress at this time but never meant that in a literal sense.”
“[Police] spoke with the father to determine if his son actually had the means to carry out such a threat, because he was threatening to shoot a firearm at Clarksburg High school. His father said no he does not,” said Starks.
According to police, the student went back on the social media account and apologized to anyone that he might have offended or frightened.
“What he did does not appear to rise to the level of a criminal violation in Maryland,” said Starks, “but there are other consequences that he will have to face, through Montgomery County Public Schools.”
In an email alert sent home to parents, Clarksburg High School Principal Stephen C. Whiting said, “We will be taking appropriate school disciplinary steps as necessary. We will be monitoring social media and asking MCPS security for additional support. If people see threats to any MCPS school, student or staff over social media, they should contact me immediately.”
Starks said that although there is no credible threat to the school, students, parents, and staff should expect to see an increased police presence at Clarksburg High School Monday morning. “There will be additional officers besides the usual School Resource Officer an school security officers at Clarksburg High School tomorrow morning, just to assure students, parents and staff that all is secure.”
Starks said that according to 5th District Commander, Capt. David Gillespie, this is the sixth such social media threat to the four high schools in the district to be investigated by 5th District MCPD detectives this school year. Starks said that there had been more such threats countywide, but didn’t have exact figures. The four schools in the 5th District are Northwest High School, Seneca Valley High School, Clarksburg High School, and Damascus High School.
File Photo by Germantown Pulse