TREMONTON — Tremonton Garland Police said three students who made threats against schools in the Box Elder School District are facing pending charges. Two of the threats were made late Sunday night, causing the school district to transition classes to online Monday morning at eight different schools, including elementary schools.
Box Elder School District officials said the suspects behind the threats will also face consequences for violating the safe school policy.
On Monday afternoon, police determined there were no further threats to the schools, and the district made the decision to resume classes on Tuesday with a greater police presence at all affected schools.
Police said the students who made the threats on Sunday night via social media told investigators they did it as a joke.
The first threat surfaced on Friday, when someone scribbled an image of a gun and the date “12/13/21” on a bathroom door at Bear River High. The case is still under investigation although police have persons of interest.
A student took a photo and posted it on social media.
Police report the threats made on Sunday night showed up on Snapchat. One of the posts showed a student holding a gun with a caption that said he’d use it to defend himself at school on Monday.
The weapon in the photo was later determined to be an airsoft gun.
The second Snapchat post indicated there would be a bomb threat. Police determined one student took another student’s photo and used it in the post.
The Tremonton Garland Police Department sought help from other law enforcement agencies with bomb-sniffing dogs. They swept the affected schools and found there were no explosives anywhere.
In a statement, Steve Carlsen, superintendent for Box Elder Schools, said making a decision to shut-down schools is difficult, but given that the Sunday threats happened in the middle of the night, there was no way to investigate the threats thoroughly before classes started on Monday.
He said the impact of the threats was great, as some students suffered emotional trauma, parents had to stay home from work to be with their children, and many kids missed school breakfast and lunch.
Carlsen explained the students who made the threats will face consequences, possibly ranging from suspension to expulsion — per school policy.
He said it’s too soon to know how they will be disciplined as there is a process that requires meetings with the students and their parents before any determination is made.
Carlsen said counselors will be available at schools on Tuesday for any students or adults who feel traumatized by the threats.