A Montgomery County school district canceled classes for all students Monday amid a police investigation into a threat against students that police said didn’t appear to be a threat after all.
The Upper Perkiomen School District in Pennsburg, Pennsylvania received an anonymous direct threat on Instagram, superintendent Dr. Alexis McGloin told NBC10.
“Due to a concern with safety and welfare of our students, school will be canceled for the day,” said McGloin in a letter to parents and guardians posted to the district’s website and on Facebook around 5:30 a.m. “Currently, state police are investigating a situation that raises enough concern for us to take this action. We will keep you updated, as more information becomes available today.”
“The threat is directed solely towards the school district and not the community or any other schools in the area,” said McGloin.
Pennsylvania State Police disputed that a threat ever existed saying there was no reason to suspect concern for students or their families.
Pennsylvania State Police became aware of the threat around 1:15 a.m. after a parent’s child found something they called alarming on a social media post, said state police.
The social media post referenced a video on a website about the Sandy Hook school shootings and how to spot a potential school shooter.
Police said the district decided to cancel schools.
“Right now it looks like this has been misinterpreted and not an actual threat to the school district itself,” said Lt. Christopher Lengle. “They posted something on Instagram that as we see it was not intended to be a threat, it was interpreted by others as a threat. The people that called us never saw the posting — they were receiving this information form their children of what their child interpreted it to be.”
McGloin later revealed more details about the incident:
“Very early this morning the Upper Perkiomen administration was made aware of an ongoing investigation associated with our secondary school students. The safety of students and staff is our first concern. We take all threats of any nature seriously and believe that it is appropriate to always notify the public and act in the best interests of our school community.”
As students stayed home, staff was asked to report to work Monday, said McGloin. The district said the source of the threat was determined midday and that all after school activities would go on as normal.
“At this time, the person responsible for the post has been identified,” said McGloin. “When the post originated, it was made on a closed group of 79 students from an anonymous source that was attached to a picture of a student potentially of middle to early high school age. The post contained a video, ‘Evan, Sandy Hook Promise.’ There is no longer a credible threat to the district as the source has been identified by state troopers. All after school activities will continue today and school will be in session tomorrow.”
McGloin asked for parents to discuss the incident with their children, “emphasizing the seriousness of this situation and the impact their on-line interactions can have on themselves, their friends, family and community.”