EAST STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – It was a scary day for many parents and students in the Poconos as two area schools briefly went on lockdown Monday morning. And it was all because of a potential threat that circulated on social media.
East Stroudsburg High School South students said there would be a shooting at their school today.
But nobody could determine who, if anyone, made the threat.
Sunday night, ESHS South senior Jared Alphonso received a scary text from a friend.
“And she told me that there was going to be a shooting at the school,” explains Alphonso.
In one message circulating, a student told another “there’s word there is gonna be a shooting tomorrow. My brother heard it from his friends mom and he heard it from his friends.”
Word of the threat spread across social media.
“On Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram. That’s when I started taking it as a serious thing,” says Alphonso.
Jared didn’t go to school Monday. His mother said she wasn’t taking any chances. Especially because earlier this year, a student was convicted of bringing a loaded gun inside the school.
“And this is the second time so I just really wasn’t willing to take that risk,” explains Felicia Alphonso, mother.
Nearly 600 students didn’t show up for classes Monday. A school spokesperson points out that could be due to sickness, not just the social media post.
Monroe County Technical Institute in Bartonsville also went on temporary lockdown, since hundreds of South students take classes there.
Pocono Mountain School District took extra precautions as well.
Whether the threats on East Stroudsburg High School South were real or rumor, officials at all three schools say this incident shows social media’s power.
Students are thankful the threats were taken seriously.
“I trust my school and the security guards and the police officers that are in there,” explains Alphonso.
There was a strong police presence outside all three schools today but officers found the threat “unsubstantiated” and the lockdowns were lifted.
East Stroudsburg High School South and MCTI were both placed on ‘lockdown one,’ meaning classes went on as usual but all classroom doors were locked.
Statement from Pocono Mountain School District Spokesperson:
“PMSD officials and the police have heard of a social media posting involving a neighboring school district that has created concern with our Pocono Mountain parents. Administration and the police are investigating this matter, and we are remaining vigilant. Please know that we do not know of any confirmed threat (social media or otherwise) against PMSD schools at this time. However, we are responding and taking precautions to ensure the ongoing safety of our schools.”
Statement from East Stroudsburg High School South: