Pocono Schools on Lockdown after Social Media Post

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Pocono Schools On Lockdown_41239861-159532

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:

“The East Stroudsburg Area School District intends to strictly facilitate a learning and teaching atmosphere, which fosters the educational purpose and mission of the School District.  Students and staff are responsible for their own behavior when communicating with social media, which may not disrupt the learning atmosphere, educational programs, school activities, and the rights of others, and will be held accountable for the content of communications on social media.
 
The Board recognizes the danger that terroristic threats and acts presents to the safety and welfare of the school community.  A terroristic threat is a threat communicated, in person or by written or electronic means, either directly or indirectly to commit any crime of violence with the intent to terrorize another, or to cause an evacuation of a building, or otherwise to cause or risk serious public inconvenience.
 
In a continuing effort to provide a safe and secure environment, the Board acknowledges the need for an immediate and effective response to a situation involving any terroristic threat or act.  Therefore, the School District will cooperate with social media sites, internet service providers, local, state, and federal officials in investigations of such activity.
 
The Level 1 Lockdown at High School – South this morning helped such investigations proceed in a controlled and orderly manner.”

   
 

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