Poland police probe student's social media post


Staff report

POLAND

Parents with students in the school district received a call Saturday alerting them to a social media post about which the district notified police.

Superintendent David Janofa said school officials were notified at a Friday night basketball game about pictures posted in early January by a student. He declined to give the student’s school or grade level.

He described the post as “pictures of an individual posing with a weapon.”

“There was no what I would consider an immediate threat, meaning there was no ‘I’m going to do this or that,’” Janofa said.

School officials became aware of the post after a student alerted an administrator, and school officials immediately alerted township police, Janofa said.

“We thought it needed to be addressed immediately with the authorities, and that’s what we did,” he said. “Again, there wasn’t any threat, per se, but the pictures were certainly enough to warrant us addressing it with the authorities.”

Township Police Chief Brian Goodin said he does not believe posting pictures of that nature is a crime, but police will follow up on the incident.

He said the school resource officer will meet with the student’s family and will be in touch with the juvenile court.

He emphasized that the police department is taking the incident seriously, especially because of what’s happening nationally with school gun violence.

“With everything that’s going on, we’re going to look at everything we can, covering all bases, to make sure nothing happens,” Goodin said. “We don’t want to sit here and think, ‘This isn’t going to happen here.’”

He cited news reports about law-enforcement officials failing to follow up after being notified about disturbing social media posts made by a teenager who on Wednesday killed 17 people at a Florida high school.

“We don’t want any of those things that have happened to happen here,” Goodin said.

He urged people to contact the schools or police if they see anything suspicious.

As for any disciplinary actions the student might face from the district, Janofa said, “Let’s just say we’re certainly going to follow our board policy and the code of conduct and ensure both our policies and protocol are seen through. I can’t comment on a student’s discipline, but I will say this is something we’re taking very seriously.”

The call to parents was made about 2:30 p.m. Saturday. Janofa said school administrators received calls from concerned parents, and wanted to share the information the district had.

“We were grateful [Friday] night that somebody brought it to our attention,” he said. “We’re able to deal with these things, in this case immediately. ... We’re able to do that when we become aware of it, and I would just strongly urge folks ... if they become aware of something, let us determine the severity of it.”

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