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Gun drawing, Snapchat post cause Utah district to cancel in-person classes


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TREMONTON — Classes at many schools in the Box Elder School District were held online Monday as police investigated several potential threats made against some schools in the district.

On Friday, police were notified that an unidentified student had created a drawing of a gun along with the date "12/13/21" in a bathroom stall at a school in the district, said Tremonton Garland Police Sgt. Brian Crockett.

The message was etched in a boy's bathroom at Bear River High School. A photo of the etching was then shared by students on social media, said Keith Mecham, assistant superintendent of Box Elder School District.

"And so immediately looking into where that may have originated, the principal ... sent out information that evening, Friday night, letting parents know that there was a threat that was circulating on social media and asked for any information that they may get from their students," Mecham said.

Detectives and school resource officers began investigating and conducted search warrants at the homes of some students whom they believed might have been involved.

Then on Sunday, police received additional tips about a Snapchat message with a gun sent by a student, and another photo talking about an explosion. Due to those potential threats, some schools did not hold classes in person on Monday, Crockett said. Earlier, the district had planned to hold classes in-person as usual but planned to provide extra police presence at the schools.

In one of the messages, someone had taken another person's photo and added a caption to make them look like they were connected to the threat, according to the sergeant.

Crockett called the Snapchat messages "an ill-timed and horrible attempt at humor" that inconvenienced more than 1,000 students and their families.

There could be criminal charges against the student involved, he added.

The student who drew the gun and date in the school bathroom has not yet been identified. The district is taking precautions, Crockett said.

Schools in the north end of the district were affected, including all elementary schools, Harris Intermediate School, Bear River Middle School, and Bear River High School, according to a Facebook post from the school district.

Dogs were sweeping schools to ensure they were safe, Mecham said, as officials determine when it is safe to return to in-person classes.

The district asked students to check communication from the school for teachers' instructions.

"We are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of our students and staff," the post said. "Police are still investigating and will continue to vet any and all alleged threats. Contact the police if you have any direct information."

Contributing: Logan Stefanich

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Linda Williams is KSL.com's early morning web producer. She joined KSL.com after many years at KSL TV. Linda graduated with a communications degree from Brigham Young University and now calls Idaho home.
Ashley Imlay covers state politics and breaking news for KSL.com. A lifelong Utahn, Ashley has also worked as a reporter for the Deseret News and is a graduate of Dixie State University.

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