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Wise Central student taken into custody for alleged Facebook threats

April 15th, 2014 11:17 pm by Wes Bunch

Wise Central student taken into custody for alleged Facebook threats

WISE — A Wise County high school student was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon and could face criminal charges for allegedly making unspecified threats on social media.

The Wise County Sheriff's Office and Wise County Public Schools confirmed at approximately 5:30 p.m. that a Central High School Student had made "general threats" during the school day using Facebook.

The age, gender and grade level of the student — who is a minor — were not available Tuesday evening. Authorities did not say if the threats were directed at specific students or the school as a whole.

Sgt. Duane Phillips with the Wise County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigations Division said criminal charges could be filed against the student who made the alleged threat.

"The school resource office is working with the commonwealth's attorney's office to determine the proper course of action," Phillips said. "The student has not been charged at this time, but criminal charges are pending."

Phillips said law enforcement had been in contact with the student's parents and school administrators during the investigation.

Wise County Superintendent Jeff Perry said the school system cannot afford to ignore potential threats involving students.

"We take any threat or comments of a negative nature very seriously," Perry said. "When you cross the line from merely having a conversation to actually going to a threat or something of that nature, then there will be some fairly serious consequences associated with that.

"We will always try to ensure that our kid are safe," Perry added. "You have to balance everything out and look at everything individually, but you have to take them all seriously because you never know."

Perry, along with law enforcement, said students, faculty and staff were never in immediate danger and that no threat remains to the school.

The incident reportedly took place late in the school day. Phillips said law enforcement began its investigation after the school's resource officer was notified of the threat.

"I know that the resource officer was made aware of the situation and took action to immediately identify the student who made the post," Phillips said. "The officer took the student into the office with the vice principal and the appropriate steps were taken to ensure the safety and security of the school and the students."

According to Perry, no action had to be taken to place the Central campus on lockdown due to the timing of the incident.

"It was late in the day and we did locate the child very quickly," Perry said. "It was not one of those situations where we felt anybody was in immediate danger, but that still does not relieve a child of the responsibility of this."

Both Perry and Phillips said the investigation of the incident was ongoing.

"There was no danger to any children and no immediate threat that we were ever aware of," Perry said. "It's too early into the investigation though at this point for us to say much more than that."

In a similar — but unrelated — incident, a male and female student at Gate City High School were arrested in Oct. 2013 by Scott County authorities for threatening a fellow student on Facebook. Both students pleaded guilty last month in Scott County Juvenile Court to felony charges stemming from the incident.

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