Penfield schools find no credibility behind social media ‘threat’

Local News

PENFIELD, N.Y. (WROC) — The Penfield Central School District says there is no credibility to a perceived threat circulating on social media.

News 8 received a number of messages from students Tuesday, saying a photo circulating on social media claimed to show a student at the high school with a pistol threatening to bring it to school.

In a letter sent to parents Tuesday, the district said there was no truth behind the rumor. The district said it investigated the claims along with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and found no known verbal or written threats against the school.

District officials said the photo in question was a picture of an airsoft gun taken over the summer, sent from one student to another. That photo, the district said, resurfaced recently on Snapchat.

District officials said the student’s home was searched with permission from the student’s parents, and no weapons were found. The Monroe County FIT Team and Monroe Crime Analysis Center also investigated and found there was no credible threat.

“We understand that parents are concerned, especially in light of the social media trend we alerted you to yesterday,” Superintendent Thomas Putnam wrote, “but we ask for your patience and understanding as we
investigate reports.”

The district says police will continue to monitor the situation and have a presence at the high school.

Read the full letter to parents

Dear Penfield Families,
I want to address rumors and inaccurate information regarding Penfield High School
that were shared on Facebook today and forwarded to school officials. A screenshot of a
Snapchat photo was posted on a Facebook page, indicating that a gun was at school
today and that threats were made. This is simply not true. There was NO weapon in
school today and there were NO known verbal or written threats made
against the school.
The facts of the situation are as follows:
A student brought a Snapchat photo of what appeared to be a weapon to the attention of
PHS administrators this morning. Members of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office were
at school in support of the social media trend reported yesterday and were immediately
brought into the conversation. Upon investigating today’s concern, the MCSO
determined that the photo was actually of an air soft gun and that it had been sent by
one student to another this past summer and the photo has now resurfaced. Upon a
thorough investigation, which included interviews with the student and the student’s
parents, a search of the student’s home with the parents’ permission which revealed
there were no weapons in the home, as well as utilization of the Monroe County FIT
Team and Monroe Crime Analysis Center, MCSO determined there was no credible
threat. Working in partnership with the school district, MCSO will continue to monitor
the situation and continue to have a presence at the school.
We want to assure you that we take these issues very seriously and the student who
shared the original post has been disciplined in accordance with our Code of Conduct.
We understand that parents are concerned, especially in light of the social media trend
we alerted you to yesterday, but we ask for your patience and understanding as we
investigate reports. We also ask that you come to us with questions and concerns, so
that we can address them quickly and accurately.
Thank you for your understanding and for continuing to have ongoing conversation with
your students about appropriate use of social media.

Thomas K. Putnam, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools

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