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WEST ELLICOTT – Several schools across Chautauqua County closed Friday following threats of violence nationwide, with police in one local district asking parents to take another look at their child’s social media.
On Thursday night the Ellicott Police Officer School Resource Officer was alerted by the Southwestern High School Principal about a specific threat by a student. As a precaution, the school closed for the day Friday.
While Ellicott Police Sgt. Daniel Ingrao tells WNY News Now his department doesn’t believe this is “directly related” to the national TikTok posts warning of shooting and bomb threats at schools around the country, the posts need to be taken seriously.
The social media threats had many educators on edge as they circulated in the aftermath of a deadly school shooting in Michigan, which has been followed by numerous copycat threats to schools elsewhere.
The trending post promoted two other districts in Chautauqua County, Gowanda and Pine Valley Central Schools, to close. Several other schools, including Jamestown Public School dispelled the rumor citing no credible threat to Jamestown.
“Indirectly, social media in general is to blame probably for the majority of it,” explained Sgt. Ingrao. “We certainly recommend parents try and stay involved in their social media aspects, as far as a law enforcement prospective, that is something we are always monitoring, we take every situation like this seriously and we address every individual issue as it comes to us.”
In Southwestern, Sgt. Ingrao explains the school student will not likely face charges as the district is expected to take action to discipline the student.
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