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Two Southern Indiana middle schoolers arrested over threats to local schools

A classroom full of empty desks.
Photo by MChe Lee
Police and school administrators investigated threats by students this week at three separate schools in Jeffersonville. Police say none were found to be credible.

Jeffersonville police and Greater Clark County Schools administration have investigated threats by students at three local schools this week. Two students believed to be behind threats were arrested Thursday.

The Jeffersonville Police Department had multiple officers stationed at Jeffersonville High School Wednesday, a day after the discovery of a message in a girls bathroom threatening harm to students.

On Thursday, they responded to other threats at Parkview and River Valley middle schools — one found in a bathroom and one made verbally by a student.

JPD Lt. Sam Moss said the department investigated each incident thoroughly, including interviews and searches of residences and the schools. He said the threats were all unrelated and not credible.

“Based off of our findings, there didn't seem to be any kind of potential for those threats to actually be carried out,” he said.

The department has also increased patrols around Jeffersonville High School this week. Some parents said on social media they would keep their kids home the day of the threat.

Moss said it’s important for parents to talk to their kids about how such messaging is not a joke and will be taken seriously.

“If you make any kind of comment that even slightly insinuates any kind of physical harm at the school, it's going to be taken seriously and will be taken seriously every time,” he said. “It will be investigated, police will be involved, [the] prosecutor's office will be involved.”

He also said they need to have conversations about awareness and how to spot and report potential threats.

“If you see something or hear something, say something,” Moss said. “You shouldn't just ignore it, you shouldn't just laugh it off. And if something tells you in your gut that something isn't right, you need to go with your instincts and tell a teacher or school administrator.”

A representative with Greater Clark County Schools declined to comment for this story, referring LPM News to the police department.

The threats came in the days following a mass shooting Monday in downtown Louisville, where a gunman killed five and injured six others at Old National Bank.

Moss said it could have contributed to the unusual spike of threats among students.

“I think there's definitely a good possibility that that's why we're seeing it this week,” he said. “It’s in a lot of people’s … minds.”

At River Valley, the verbal threat came the day the school was teaching students how to respond if there is an intruder.

Several dozen other schools and districts in Indiana closed campuses for in-person learning Friday following bomb threats sent via email.

Coverage of Southern Indiana is funded, in part, by Samtec, Inc. and the Hazel & Walter T. Bales Foundation.

Aprile Rickert is LPM's Southern Indiana reporter. Email Aprile at arickert@lpm.org.

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