In the wake of the Las Vegas mass shootings, Friday’s social media buzz about a shooting threat at a Saratoga Springs high school caught on like wildfire.
Problem was, it was just plain not so.
And, said Alpine School District spokeswoman Kimberly Bird, it didn’t help that an unnamed middle school principal added the words “threat of a school shooting” to an email meant to assure his own patrons that there was no danger.
“There was not a shooting threat at West Lake High School today and there never was,” Bird said Friday.
It apparently all stemmed from an incident involving West Lake High on Tuesday.
Bird said that on Monday, a student had brought an undisclosed weapon to school, shown it to some friends, and then took it home.
“The student didn’t threaten anyone with it,” she added, and the incident was, at the time, unknown to school officials.
Indeed, said Saratoga Springs police spokesman David Johnson, the male teen’s gun was not loaded. “It didn‘t even have a magazine with it,” he added.
It all may have gone unreported had not a fellow student posted a social media text mentioning the incident. Parents of yet another student, seeing the message, came to the high school to report it to the principal.
Notified by the principal, Saratoga Springs police officers were on campus Tuesday and contacted the boy suspected of having brought the gun to campus.
Bird said the district’s protocols call for a minimum of suspension for student weapon violations. She was not at liberty to identify the student or specify what disciplinary action was taken, but Bird did confirm that “our protocols were followed.”
Johnson confirmed that officers were on the high school’s campus Friday following up on the incident. No evacuations or other restrictions were in place, however.
“But this is a suspected hoax,” he stressed. “We have a few officers at the high school today, but it’s just a precaution.”
The matter remains under investigation, and police have not yet determined what, if any charges, may be brought against the student.
The boy’s parents reportedly were cooperating fully with both school officials and police.