WEBSTER, N.Y. (WROC) – A student at Webster Schroeder High School was arrested on Saturday after a post on Snapchat was brought to the attention of officers with the Webster Police Department.
Officers arrested 18-year-old Bernardo Melendez Jr. and charged him with one count of making a terrorist threat.
Officers said this is an isolated incident and that there are no safety concerns for students and staff at the school. WPD did not address what was seen in the Snapchat post, but a parent shared a screenshot of the threat with News 8:
Melendez was issued an appearance ticket to return to the Webster Town Court on December 18.
“Threats are taken seriously with both the Webster School District and the Webster Police Department,” Webster Police Chief Rieger said. “All threats will be fully investigated, and those responsible will be prosecuted.”
A concerned parent shared Melendez’s post with district administrators, and the district turned the matter over to the WPD.
WCSD said the parent’s quick actions resulted in yesterday’s investigation by the WPD.
According to WCSD, Melendez will not be in school this week, pending a superintendent’s hearing.
A parent of a Webster student sent a letter to the Webster Schroeder High School principal, saying she wouldn’t be sending her children to school because of the threats:
News 8 spoke to a former U.S. State Department special agent currently the Vice President of Tactical Analysis for Stratfor, a geopolitical intelligence platform out of Austin, Texas.
“Over the last decade and a half, we’ve had a massive increase in social media usage. Especially by young people. We have a lot more communication going on there of all types,” said Scott Stewart.
Stewart says threats on social media is becoming a severe problem. According to Stewart, in many cases of threats and shootings, a person may be going through an emotional situation in their personal life.
“So whether it was somebody that was bullied or lose a girlfriend like a shooter in Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. There can be these grievances at the same time,” said Stewart.
Stewart says education and talking about threats is one of the best ways to tackle the issue.
“I think Sandy Hook Promise is one of the most prominent out there and has done an excellent job with their advertisements and these education campaigns that they get into the schools that teach these kids what the warning signs are and what to do when they see them,” said Stewart.