Camdenton police check month-old social media threat

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CAMDENTON, Mo. (KSPR) -- City police urge parents and guardians to pay close attention to their children as they investigate an alleged threat. Police say it started with a social media post that seemed to be directed to Camdenton Middle School.

No student has been arrested or charged with any crime.

Chief Laura Wright with the Camdenton Police Department said it started with a picture online. The picture allegedly is that of a student holding a loaded revolver with the caption, "Don't go to school tomorrow." Some parents kept their kids at home on Wednesday, and expressed their concerns on social media.

But the chief points out the picture was posted more than a month ago and is just now getting attention from people in the community. She said these issues are taken very seriously, and students could face criminal charges for making threats, if that's what this social media post implied.

"While it's still very concerning, and we are looking into it, it helped us put it into perspective that it didn't happen yesterday. Now the investigation is still unfolding as to what additional information might come to light," Chief Wright said.

This news comes just two weeks after Ozark Schools canceled classes in their entire district due to a social media threat. A student there was arrested and charged with making a terroristic threat. And another similar incident happened in Branson, only two days before that.

Missouri lawmakers have introduced house bill 360, which would make any threats to the security of a building or school, causing a lockdown or evacuation, a Class E felony.

The chief would only comment about this incident, but said parents need to talk to their kids about social media and guns.

"The kids are talking about old school shooting incidents, we need to be talking to them too and make sure their information is accurate. We need to make sure we talk about social media. It's a great tool but it comes with a lot of responsibilities that sometimes our younger youth might not understand the full gamut of the comments they post," Chief Wright said. "I want to make sure our community knows we're taking this very seriously and we're looking into it. But please help us put it into context. We're not overlooking anything right now, but the original post was over 30 days old."

Camdenton Schools Superintendent Dr. Tim Hadfield said there was no specific threat made to the school today. He also told KSPR that his child is a middle school student and was in class on Wednesday. He said every effort is made to ensure safety, and extra police officers were even on campus Wednesday as an added safety measure.

The proposed bill from the Missouri House of Representatives is attached.

Click HERE to read House Bill 360.