Newark Police: Facebook message about student possibly bringing gun to school not credible
Posted at: 03/01/2013 10:37 AM
| Updated at: 03/01/2013 7:16 PM
By: Ray Levato | WHEC.com
Police in Newark say social media alerted them to a potential threat at school Friday but also helped them resolve that threat.
A Facebook post said a student was going to bring a gun to school. It’s the kind of situation facing police departments all over the country as they use social media to try to protect our children.
Newark Police increaed their presence around the high school after a Facebook post said a 14 year old was going to bring a gun to school. They quickly tracked it down and found out the student in question didn't have a gun and that student was the apparent victim of a rumor on Facebook.
Newark Police Chief David Christler said, “In my whole career, almost 40 years, I've never seen or personally received this many calls at home.” He didn't identify the student -- or whether the student was a boy or a girl and the investigation found there was no threat to use a gun. “As it was, the individual we suspected, the individual that was supposed to come in with the gun, had never said that.”
The chief described the student as a typical kid of 14. “This person maybe has issues with other people like a lot do and a third party had heard something and by the time it got to this person, they posted that he was real angry and was going to come in with a gun. How it gets to that I can't tell you.”
The rumor spread like wildfire. Christler said there was no incident and so no charges were filed.
One parent told us she’s relieved police use social media as a tool. Charita Falbru said, “It's good to know they take quick action because some parents will be hesitant about sending their kids to school knowing that. And then for all the things that have been happening you've got to take it seriously.”
Christler said, “We use Facebook when we need to gather information. Many people don't realize that when you're talking on Facebook, you're talking to the world. “
The chief said he advised the student to stay home Friday just in case there were some hard feelings. He wouldn't say whether this student -- a freshman -- had been picked on at school.