Juveniles arrested for posting intent to harm
By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Two juveniles were taken into custody last week in connection with threats posted on a social media outlet against several Escambia County Middle School students and an ECMS administrator.
One of the juveniles was arrested February 27, the other surrendered to sheriff’s officers the next day. Alabama law does not allow for publication of the names of juveniles unless they are charged as adults.
Officers with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office and the Atmore Police Department were present in force at the local school February 27 and February 28 in response to the threat, which was posted the evening of February 26.
The person making the threat proclaimed that, “I will be shooting up the shooting up the [sic] school tomorrow I will hurt everybody.”
The names of several individual students, as well as an entire class and a member of the school administration, were among the listed targets.
Sheriff Heath Jackson said the strong law enforcement presence, along with the full cooperation of school officials and parents, helped maintain the peace at the local school.
ECMS principal Debbie Bolden said Thursday 360 to 370 students were absent, out of an enrollment of 590.
“All emergency protocols were activated, and due to efforts by school staff, administrators, parents and law enforcement, we were able to ensure that no child was placed in a dangerous situation,” Jackson said in a press release issued this week. “We were able to maintain the goal of educating our children in a safe environment.”
School officials expressed similar sentiments.
“Ensuring the safety of our students and staff remains our top priority, and we will continue close communication with local law enforcement,” said a press release issued by the school system.
The sheriff, who indicated that the threat was apparently intended as a prank, urged parents to periodically check on their children’s use of social media.
“We would like to ask the parents in the community to monitor their children’s social media platforms and remind them that threats are not something to joke about,” he said.