Arab Police Department investigating possible school threat

Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 5:54 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ARAB, Ala. (WAFF) - Parents are concerned and upset after a delayed response to a school threat at Arab Junior High School on Monday. The Arab Police Department along with the City’s school board investigated a possible threat toward the school.

The mass email to inform parents was sent at nearly 10:30 p.m. on Monday night. It states that the police department investigated the threat made by a student on social media.

“We started getting calls in that parents were seeing things on social media basically warning children not to come to school at the Arab Junior High. We eventually were able to deduct where the threat was coming from and what child made the threat,” Arab Police Chief Shane Washburn said.

Washburn claims that social media posts on multiple different platforms circulated warning students not to attend school on Tuesday. He says that these threats were not credible and he feels that the student did not fully understand the weight of what they were sharing.

“It was off-the-cuff comments and they were just talking to other friends. I don’t know if they knew the weight and the severity of what they were saying at the time,” he said.

Washburn says that once the student’s parents were notified, they were cooperative and aided in the investigation by providing any evidence related to the threat.

Afterward, APD told the school system to notify students’ parents, however, this notification did not reach parents until after 10 p.m. Many parents of the junior high students were outraged that they were not made aware sooner.

Superintendent Johnny Berry says that all departments involved wanted to make sure that all facts were gathered before alarming parents.

“The important thing to remember is that this is an investigation. We didn’t want to put anything out until we knew actual facts of what was really going on and those didn’t materialize until late yesterday evening,” Berry said. “We weren’t trying to keep anything from anyone, but we wanted to make sure that we had the correct information that we were sending out to parents.”

There was an increased presence of patrol units from APD to give both parents and students peace of mind. This tension comes just hours after the tragic school shooting in Nashville.

“Children’s safety is our number one priority. We want to make sure our children are able to go to school and learn in a safe environment and when anything like this happens we have to do everything we can to make sure everyone is safe,” Berry said.

Both Washburn and Berry are confident that this incident is isolated, and there is no further threat to the community or the school system.

Click Here to Subscribe on YouTube: Watch the latest WAFF 48 news, sports & weather videos on our YouTube channel!