WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE, OH (WCMH) — For already the second time this school year, Miami Trace Local Schools canceled all classes Monday because of an online bomb threat.
Fayette County Sheriff Vernon Stanforth says investigators believe the same person is responsible for Monday’s threat and the one that canceled classes in mid-September. “We think we’re dealing with the same person and we also believe it’s probably a student,” Stanforth said.
The threat was posted on Instagram and read, “The people I tag are going to get bombed.” The threat and all around the message were the Instagram account names of about a dozen Middle School students.
Travis Huffman says one of those named was his 12-year-old son Trenton. “It’s plain as day,” Huffman said. “My son’s name is front and center – right there and that’s alarming.”
Bomb-sniffing K-9’s were used to sweep all district buildings. Nothing was found.
Investigators say the person who did this was quick – creating an Instagram account, posting the threat early this morning and then closing the account and offline before law enforcement was even notified.
Stanforth says the very nature of Instagram makes it difficult for law enforcement to track deactivated accounts. “By design, they don’t allow that to happen,” Stanforth said. “Once it’s used, it’s deleted or never retained. So if they don’t have it in their database, they’re not going to be able to provide it to us.”
Travis Huffman hopes that Instagram is able and willing to help. “If they don’t then what – does it just continue and anytime a kid doesn’t want to go to school, he just makes a threat on Instagram and shuts down a whole school district. This could be never-ending.”
Trenton Huffman says the other names included on the threat are all friends. “It makes me feel upset, scared,” Trenton said. “It makes me feel like I don’t want to come to school anymore.”
Trenton, a sixth grader, says he has no idea who would make such a threat or why his name was among those on the post.
His father says the use of names in this threat makes it personal and he wants answers. “Just a quick sweep of the school and then back to normal business tomorrow is not an answer for me,” Huffman said. That’s not a solution to this. This needs to be dealt with.”
Sheriff Stanforth said there will be extra security on hand Tuesday when the schools reopen. He urged any students with information to come forward. “If they just have knowledge of it, they need to tell an adult,” Stanforth said. “They need to tell a school official or law enforcement what they do know and that has not been easy to get out of young children.”