District responds to alleged threats

NORTH KINGSTOWN–After a high school student allegedly sent threatening messages over social media, North Kingstown school officials and police officers took immediate safety measures to address the situation. Following an investigation into the messages, however, the threats were not found to be credible, though an additional police officer was assigned to the high school. 

Superintendent Philip Auger explained that on Monday night, the school administration and police officers were notified that a student had sent threatening images of guns on social media.  

“[On Monday], between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m., we started getting word of this threat being made, some people had seen it on social media, and they were notifying our administrators and the police about it,” Auger said on Tuesday. “We sprung into action, we were talking to the police, talking to one another. The police investigated and found that there was no credibility at all to the allegation.” 

The administration eventually found out that one student had actually hacked into the social media account of another student and used their account to send the images.

“What occurred is that another student hacked and basically pretended to be this [student] and sent some of these [...] messages out that were pictures of guns,” Auger said. 

Police and the administration quickly determined that the threats weren’t credible, though they did discover who had actually sent the messages. 

“We determined really early on that this was not credible,” Auger said. “I don’t know if it was a prank or something like that, but it was not credible in terms of any way to harm anyone at the school. The person that actually did send the messages–we found out who that was. The police have addressed that student.” 

While the threats were not deemed to be credible, Auger said that the student who sent the messages would not be returning to the school, at least not until a full threat assessment of the situation had been completed.

“They will not be at the high school any longer until there is a full threat assessment done,” he said. “The district has a lot of decisions we need to make about this going forward, it’s really too early to tell what those may be.” 

“We’re not going to have anyone in the school we feel has any chance of being a threat to themselves or other kids,” he added.  

Though Auger said that the situation posed “no extra threat to the high school,” an additional police officer was assigned to the school on Tuesday.  

He also said that the student whose account was hacked and used to spread the threatening messages was “purely innocent.” 

“The other student was purely innocent all the way and it’s really a shame that their name was all over this last night on social media,” Auger said. “Everyone was sharing this kid’s name and he was completely oblivious to everything going on. He had nothing to do with anything.”

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