Posted: Monday, January 28th 2013 at 9:00pm
Hall School Supt.calls FBHS Internet threat a hoax
By Jerry Gunn Staff
GAINESVILLE - Hall County School Superintendent Will Schofield told school board members Monday evening that "we're in a new era" when it comes to threats against schools.
Schofield said there is an ongoing investigation into the Internet threat that unfolded at Flowery Branch High School Monday morning and led to 1,000 students checked out by their parents; a threat that was a hoax.
“We can confirm that the threat today was fabricated,” Schofield said. “Within 24 hours we’ll be able to release a lot more information.”
The Superintendent added that law enforcement and school officials went right into action to protect the students with a partial or “gray lockdown”. Students were kept in class, only one way building access was allowed, with adult supervision in hallways.
A $1,000 reward remains in place for information that leads to the arrest of persons responsible for the disruption. Board members discussed raising the reward amount but Schofield advised waiting to see if the existing reward brought results.
“Our board members have said to spend what it takes to find the people who caused this kind of disruption in our schools,” Schofield said. “We will make an extremely strong statement that it will not be tolerated.”
An anonymous Tip Line was set up to accept information related to the incident. The number is (770) 503-3232.
According to system spokesman Gordon Higgins an overnight message went out on InstaGram, a social media instant messaging system that contained unspecified threats to the school. The Hall County Sheriff's Department went to the high school early Monday morning and launched a full investigation with the cooperation of Principal Mark Coleman and his administrative staff.
Higgins said one student received the message overnight and brought it to Coleman’s attention. Coleman immediately called law enforcement. The Sheriff’s Department said there was never a threat of a shooting or a report of a gunman at the school after an e-mail prayer chain issued a message, saying that a shooting had occurred there.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is also looking for the source of the disruptive internet chatter. Schofield stressed that no students were in harm’s way but the disruption to the campus and community is immeasurable.
A criminal investigation by Sheriff's Department included additional sheriff's department presence on campus, in uniform and in plain clothes. School administrators also continued their investigation which included multiple student interviews.
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