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Police are 'fully involved' in Snapchat threat, Okawville principal says

Principal Keith Senior's message to Okawville parents

Principal Keith Senior sent an audio message to parents Thursday morning in response to a threat made against the Okawville Junior/Senior High School on Snapchat on Wednesday night.
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Principal Keith Senior sent an audio message to parents Thursday morning in response to a threat made against the Okawville Junior/Senior High School on Snapchat on Wednesday night.

Okawville school officials told parents Thursday evening that the investigation into a threat made Wednesday night on Snapchat was entirely in the hands of police.

Police continued to investigate a threat made against the Okawville Junior/Senior High School on the social media platform but did not respond for comment Thursday. There will continue to be an increased police presence at school Friday, officials said.

Principal Keith Senior sent a robocall to parents Thursday morning, saying police were "fully involved" with the Snapchat threat. The message did not specify what the threat was or whether it was considered credible.

Officials could not immediately provide the number of students absent on Thursday morning, but attendance was down, Superintendent Scott Fuhrhop said. The school has about 260 students in grades 7 through 12.

"We're running as a normal school day. I have extra people here ... I want to make it as normal as possible. If we all run around with our head in the sand, that's when the kids are going to act," he said.

"This is why I can't stand (social media). You're going up against something, you can create a fake name and fake accounts," he said.

Parents at the Wednesday night basketball game were reacting to the threat within minutes of its post, according to Fuhrhop.

"It's a small town. Everybody and their mother knew in minutes," Fuhrhop said.

"There are parents who are saying, 'I'm not sending my kids until this is fully resolved.' And that's OK ... You can't say that nothing will ever happen. You can't make those promises. You can't. But we're doing everything we can," Fuhrhop said.

He added students would likely have noticed an increased police and staff presence Thursday morning.

"We ask that you continue to have conversations with your children about Snapchat and social media, and that threats being made will be taken seriously by our district and local enforcement," Senior said in the message, sent at about 7:00 a.m. Thursday.

Senior originally sent out a robocall to parents Wednesday night, informing them of the threat.

"We are working with authorities to take measures to ensure the safety of our students," Senior said in that message. "Please take time this evening to have a conversation with your child in regards to this matter."

Kaley Johnson: 618-239-2526, @KaleyJohnson6

Mary Cooley: 618-239-2535, @MaryCooleyBND

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