A 15-year-old Lakeridge Junior High School student was arrested in the early morning Friday after posting threats against the school online.
Alpine School District officials said they were alerted on the SafeUtah app that a student had posted threats on social media. The SafeUtah App allows students who may be contemplating suicide, or who are in precarious situations, to seek help and post messages. The threat was received by the district late Thursday evening, according to Kimberly Bird, district spokesman.
“The Orem Police responded quickly,” Bird said. “The student was arrested at 1:30 a.m. and the issue was resolved.”
The student posted a picture holding a gun and the post said “don’t come to school tomorrow.”
The minor is being held at a juvenile detention center. According to Capt. Craig Martinez with the Orem Police Department, the student could be charged with terroristic threats, a third-degree felony. By state law, the offender may have to give monetary restitution for any costs accrued for an investigation. Martinez said the student being held has no other record of history with the police.
Bird said there was no need for a Friday school lockdown.
Orem Police have dealt with three other separate situations involving threats to schools this week.
“On Monday, a car pulled up in front of Orem High School and three guys in masks jumped out and were cussing and swearing, but there were no weapons,” Martinez said. “A woman in the parking lot takes a photo and calls the school — not the police. By the time we were alerted, the car was gone.”
According to Martinez, later that day the woman posted the photos on Facebook. He said the police had be trying to get her on her cellphone and through Facebook messaging without success. On Tuesday, an Orem Junior High parent called the police concerned if his child was safe. The same woman posted another photo of a kid with a gun that was recognized.
“We finally got a hold of her after four days of trying,” Martinez said. “Then another kid on Instagram posted a photo holding a long gun and the post said ‘revenge.’”
He said that person was tracked down but they couldn’t charge him because of unexplained issues.
Bird said that over the past two years, district schools have received more than 30 threats and each time, the police have been contacted. The threats have ranged from photos of students holding guns to warnings about not coming to school the next day. All of the threats are taken seriously.
Bird said that students must understand there are consequences for their actions. In the case of the Lakeridge student, a hearing will be held and the consequences could range from suspension, to being sent to another school or being kicked out of school altogether.
The consequences are twofold according to Bird. The first are from the school district and the second from the policing agency. Bird is asking that parents talk with their children about these consequences.
“We are telling parents to tell their children not to joke around about this,” Martinez said.