ST. GEORGE — The St. George Police Department arrested a Fossil Ridge Intermediate School student for allegedly making school shooting threats.
The Sept. 13 arrest comes on the tail of a similar incident at Snow Canyon Middle School earlier this month.
According to the St. George Police Department Officer Report for the incident, an 11-year-old male student made verbal statements to several other students about a possible school shooting at Fossil Ridge Intermediate School.
Police were initially contacted after the boy told a female student on the bus ride home that he was going to “shoot up the school,” telling the girl to “hide in the closet because he liked her and she had always been a good friend to him.” He also told the girl he might bring bombs.
Officers investigated the threat and spoke with the suspect, who told police he spoke with multiple students throughout the day about his plans to bring a weapon to school and that he told another student to hide in the closet.
According to the report, St. George Police officers found probable cause to make the arrest for a terroristic threat, false alarm or threat of violence.
The student was taken to a juvenile detention center and faces a third-degree felony charge of threat against life, a second-degree felony charge of making a threat relating to a weapon of mass destruction and a class B misdemeanor count of threat against life. Police presence at the school was not affected, as authorities believed the potential threat was contained.
St. George Police Officer Tiffany Atkin said school resource officers have investigated “multiple” school shooting threats during the 2019-20 school year, including the one at Snow Canyon Middle School. All incidents, whether they are hoaxes or valid threats, are fully investigated, she said.
St. George Police Lt. Ivor Fuller, Washington County School District Communications Director Steven Dunham and Atkin addressed the community’s concerns in a Facebook live post Sept. 12.
“There are significant consequences that can be severe and lasting for the student – up to suspension, up to expulsion from school,” Dunham said. “It’s not something you want your child to have to deal with. The frustration we’re facing is we have children that think this is funny. It’s not funny; there’s nothing funny about this.”
Although the Washington County School District has already started installing added security measures, they have yet to establish security upgrades in secondary schools. Metal detectors, Dunham said, have not been considered because the district does not feel they are necessary for the amount of harm it could do to students’ learning processes.
Ed. Note: An earlier version of this article misidentified the school at which the alleged threats occurred. St. George News has corrected the text to reflect that the incident in this story took place at Fossil Ridge Intermediate School and not Pine View High School. We take seriously our duty to inform the public with accuracy and take full responsibility for our error.
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