Students charged in Franklin Co. school threats

Published: Nov. 6, 2014 at 2:48 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 6, 2014 at 10:15 PM CST
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Russellville High School was evacuated after a threat made on Thursday. (Source: WAFF)
Russellville High School was evacuated after a threat made on Thursday. (Source: WAFF)
Students return to class. (Source: WAFF)
Students return to class. (Source: WAFF)

RUSSELLVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Police determined threats made to Russellville High School and Tharptown High School via social media on Thursday were hoaxes contrived by two students who knew one another.

Police took a 16-year-old into custody in connection with the threat made to Russellville High School.The teen, a student at the school, is charged with making a terrorist threat and rendering false alarm.

On Thursday morning, Russellville High School was evacuated after a threat was made on Yik Yak, a social media app.

Russellville police were notified around 8:30 a.m. about the threat that said, "Attention RHS students" followed by emojis of a bomb and a handgun. Emojis are symbols used in electronic messages.

The police chief said they treated the threat as they do any other. Students returned to school around 11:30 a.m.

Later on Thursday, another threat was made using the same app at Tharptown High School. That school was also evacuated.

Franklin County Sheriff Shannon Oliver said they arrested a 17-year-old student at Tharptown and also charged him with making a terrorist threat.

They said the threat was a copycat to the Russellville threat and the boys know each other. It is currently unclear if they planned the threats together or not.

Russellville Police Chief Chris Hargett said the teen his team took into custody Thursday will be held accountable for his actions. He said not only did the threat disrupt the school day, it took his staff and other agencies away from their normal duties.

"One of these days, something like this is going to happen and it's not going to be a joke," Hargett said. "That's why we have to take it so seriously."

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