Joplin High School and Other Up Police Presence After 417 Social - KOAM TV 7

Joplin High School and Other Up Police Presence After 417 Social Media Threat

Joplin, MO -

     A southwest Missouri juvenile is in custody after a threat on Instagram prompted action at dozens of schools.
     The youngster is being called a "person of interest" by the Christian County sheriff's department" and is in custody.
     The threat was traced to Ozark and the Ozark high school canceled classes today.
     The message indicated it was being sent to eighty-seven freshmen who were good to the sender.  And warned them to stay home from school.  No word on any charges. 

The social media message fell in the 417 area code prompting principals at numerous high schools to start investigating. And to add police presence including some at Joplin high school.

 As some students were dropped off for school, others got picked up. All while a police car sat out front. That was comforting to some parents but not all  Joplin high students.
Shane Reed didn
t feel there was a danger at the school but he said his son was scared so he took him home.

Another parent said she trusts the school.  Lorri Putman said, "I think they handled it alright. They didnt cause any panic or anything. Theyre just taking extra precautions." 

The extra police presence was calming to one senior who said threats can be nerve wracking. Spencer Newell said his parent worry. But added,
Its  happened every year that Ive been there. Almost kind of normal once a year its gonna happen. But I do know some people that take it really serious and it freaks them out."  

Mom Misty Bradford was concerned but said,  "Just knowing that they were going to have extra police officers here, and just maybe they've got a better game plan this time around."  Parents like Bradford say Joplin's handling of a threat last year brought panic. She explained about last year, "I called the  board cause I never received a call. I never knew what was going on. My daughter is the one who found out." 

The current principal said it's important to investigate before acting on threats. Something all said is difficult with the instantaneous nature of social media. Principal Brandon Eggleston explained, "So many times  through twitter, social media websites,  facebook and all the instant access to information  that we have, theres a not  a lot of accurate information. The  first process is lets get the facts.  Lets make sure what   we can put out there, we know what we say is accurate." 
Even Shane Reed, whose student needed the comfort of home says the school
s reaction and alerts helped.
He said, "If it gets out faster, be on the news faster, so kids don
t come to school and be scared.  And I think they've got it under control cause they've got several officers here.

     Joplin high parents received calls and texts besides district social media postings. The principal reiterated this wasnt a specific threat to Joplin high.  But he communicated with all the area principals in the 417 area code to get information along with Joplin police.


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