PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pennsylvania State Police say there’s no credible threat to the Upper Perkiomen School District in Montgomery County, which canceled classes Monday because of a social media post that caused quite the scare.
A lieutenant with the Pennsylvania State Police confirmed the anonymous post on Instagram was taken entirely out of context.
Officials confirm classes will resume Tuesday.
The social media post from an anonymous Instagram account led to the closure of all of the schools in the Upper Perkiomen School District, according to investigators. State Police say they weren’t sure what they were dealing with when information about the social media post was turned over to them around 1:00 a.m. Monday.
A state police official says the post spread like wildfire. Police say it included a screenshot from an anti-gun violence video on SandyHookPromise.org, but it was used without context.
After police were made aware of the post, they went to look at it, but it was removed. Investigators said somebody now known to police posted a portion of the now-viral video to a private group on Instagram.
The video details how warning signs about school shootings are often ignored or overlooked.
Upper Perkiomen officials were notified, and with state police investigating, the district decided to cancel classes with student safety in mind.
Authorities say many who saw the post believed it was a threat. Both parents and students agreed the district made the right call to cancel classes.
The school district released the following statement in part on the incident:
‘The Upper Perkiomen School District takes all threats to the safety of students and staff extremely serious. Very early this morning, administrators were notified by the state police that an anonymous post was made on social media to inflict harm upon unspecified students in school. The posting originated from an online social media site, Instagram. This site allows an individual to remain unidentified, which makes it difficult for school officials or public safety officials to trace the source. While the vast majority of school threats involve situations that are not deemed credible; the closure of school today was essential to allow the state and local authorities to conduct a full investigation to ensure the safety of the students and staff.
At this time, the person responsible for the post has been identified. When the post originated, it was made on a closed group of 79 students from an anonymous source that was attached to a picture of a student potentially of middle to early high school age. The post contained a video, “Evan, Sandy Hook Promise.” There is no longer a credible threat to the district as the source has been identified by state troopers. All afterschool activities will continue today and school will be in session tomorrow.
We need to work together, as a community, to create a safe and supportive learning environment. We ask that you please discuss the day’s events with your child, emphasizing the seriousness of this situation and the impact their on-line interactions can have on themselves, their friends, family and community.’
State police confirm to CBS 3 they expect no arrests. They characterized the reaction to the video by parents and students “a mistake,” but credit them for being alert about what initially appeared to be a suspicious and questionable post.
Dr. Alexis McGloin, Upper Perkiomen’s superintendent, would not take any questions about the factors leading up to the decision to cancel class. CBS 3 twice requested to speak with McGloin on visits to her district office. A secretary said she was instructed to say McGloin would not be “seeing anybody.”