CORYDON, Ind. (WHAS11) -- Five Corydon Central High School students are in police custody following an investigation into a violent threat made on Snapchat.
Investigators arrested four juvenile students and one 18-year-old student in connection to the threats. None of the suspects have been identified.
Harrison County Prosecutor Otto Schalk said two other students saw the social media post and notified school administrators, launching the investigation.
“I can’t emphasize it enough – don’t be afraid to say something that might save a life,” said Schalk, who commended the students who came forward.
The five students were taken into custody Tuesday night. Sheriff Rod Seelye said officers seized guns and electronic devices from the suspects’ homes.
“Most of the parents were not aware that their kids were participating in this and their reaction was shock,” Seelye said.
The threats were made in a conversation on Snapchat, Schalk said, adding that threatening social media posts are not a joking matter.
“We have an entire jail full of people that are regretting their Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat posts because those posts have put them there,” Schalk said. “Whether you say it, whether you write it, Tweet it, post it, Snapchat it – I don’t care. If there is a threat involving any of our schools or our students I promise you are going to get a visit from [law enforcement].”
The threat to Corydon Central is just the latest in a series of threats to Southern Indiana school districts. In the past week, police have investigated threats targeting schools in Floyd, Clark, and Scott counties. In each case, a student or former student was arrested.
Dr. Mark Eastridge, Superintendent of Schools at South Harrison Community School Corporation, said around 20 percent of students at Corydon Central High School were absent Wednesday, up about 10 percent from the average during cold and flu season.
Eastridge says called the local and nationwide threats to schools and student safety “disheartening,” adding that parents and students should not have to worry about violence in schools.
“I’ve dedicated my career to the well-being of young people and for us to be in this spot as a nation – that’s just not an acceptable place for us to be,” Eastridge said.
The school corporation had previously planned to host two public forums Friday, March 2 on school safety. Eastridge said those events will continue as planned. The first session is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. at Corydon Central High School. The second session will be held at South Central High School at 10 a.m.
Investigators said on Wednesday that the five suspects had not yet been formally charged. Schalk said the adult suspect was arrested for conspiracy to commit aggravated battery, a level 3 felony that carries a penalty of 3 to 16 years in prison. The four juveniles are expected to be similarly charged, however, Schalk noted the judicial process for juveniles in Indiana heavily favors alternatives to incarceration.
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