Indiana schools close after threats; Chief tells suspects, ‘Get ready to go to jail’

PLAINFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — Police and the FBI are investigating after authorities say someone made threats to Plainfield High School and Danville High School. The threats made toward the schools caused administrators to close all schools on Thursday. The Danville police chief said the person who is still making threats should be prepared to face jail time.

Danville schools received a separate threat Wednesday that led to two arrests. They say the original threats they received were not connected to Plainfield.

“This started yesterday when a parent notified our school resource officer that there was a rumor going around, that a student overheard another student, threatening to get a gun and come into the school and start shooting,” said Danville Police Chief William Wright.

Wright said they began an investigation, and arrested first, a freshman Danville student Wednesday evening. They later arrested a senior Danville student, who Wright says made additional online comments. Officials say both students are facing preliminary charges of intimidation, and may face expulsion from school.

Early Thursday morning, police said separate threats were made to Plainfield High School on social media. The posts on social media begin Wednesday evening, and continued into Thursday. 24-Hour News 8 found the thread on Facebook that claimed there would be a “bloodbath” at Plainfield High. Plainfield Police say they are actively investigating the threats, and the school district made the determination to close all Plainfield schools Thursday. Police would not say if they believe the threat was legitimate, but they said any time something like this happens they take it seriously.

Later in the morning, police say the same social media account began making threats to Danville, as well, prompting Danville school and police officials to decide to close as well.

Police in Danville held a press conference at the school and the chief said who ever is making the most recent threats to schools, “Get ready to go to jail.. We’re just flat-out not going to put up with it.”

Wright said they have a plan in place and are taking this threat very seriously. He said the case “mushroomed” quickly on social media.

“Anything on social media will be taken very seriously, especially threats,” he said. “We can’t afford to not take something like this seriously”

Danville Community School Corp. Superintendent Tracey Shafer said that the school is also working to ascertain the credibility of the new threat that they believed to be tied to Danville.

Shafer said that closing the schools did interfere with final exams, but stressed that those exams can wait.  They will have a plan for after break.

Danville police are encouraging parents to be parents and ask their children what they know about the threats.

“That’s what we need we need the parents, go thru children’s phone. We were told there was a delay in this getting reported. Be nosy. Be an invasive parent. I mean that’s what it’s about. You’re their friend second. You’re their parent first,” said Wright.

A spokeswoman for Plainfield schools released this statement about school being closed Thursday:

All Plainfield Community School Corporation schools will be closed today, Thursday, December 17. A threat has been directed to the high school, and the safety and security of all students is our highest priority.

School officials have been working with the Plainfield Police Department throughout the night.

We will continue working with public safety officials, as this is an ongoing investigation.

School will resume on January 4.

Repeating: The safety and security of all students is our highest priority, and the entire corporation campus will be closed today, Thursday, December 17. No further statements are planned at this time.

Plainfield also closed YMCA child care and Little Quakers Academy.

Plainfield Police Department officials also addressed the threats in a 3 p.m. press conference.

Captain Jill Less, said that they received the original threat information from social media. Since then detectives have been following tips. Captain Less said this investigation can be a slow process but they continue to get tips from the community.

Detectives are actively looking for a suspect, but they wouldn’t say if they were close to identifying the person.  She said this is a serious crime and we are taking all of this very seriously.

Danville Community School Corporation posted this message on its Facebook page late Wednesday night:

Late this afternoon, Danville High School administrators investigated an unconfirmed rumor that a student was planning to bring a gun to school tomorrow on Thursday. Through the evening, school administration has been working with the Danville Metropolitan Police Department to investigate the credibility of this rumor. This investigation involved questioning of all suspects and a search of the residences of those alleged to be involved. No credible evidence has been revealed to support this rumor. Danville Schools and the Danville Police take these types of situations very seriously. School will take place at Danville High School tomorrow as scheduled. As an act of good measure, police presence will also be on hand at the school. Any parent that wishes to, is also welcome to accompany your son or daughter to the school in the morning.

On Thursday afternoon Governor Mike Pence told 24-Hour News 8 that he fully supports officials decision.

“It’s reflective of the times in which we live. Local law enforcement and school officials take the matter very seriously, and I fully support the decisions they make,” said Pence.

Police in Franklin were also investigating two shooting threats at the high school that occurred this week. They say two drawings were found in a boys’ bathroom stall at the high school. The threats showed a gun with the words “shoot up the school” written in them.

24-Hour News 8’s partners at the Daily Journal say the first was found on Monday and the second was reported on Wednesday. Police are looking over video surveillance to see if they can find out who drew the images. Parents were notified by e-mail Wednesday.

Police in Franklin place extra patrols at the school after threats found on bathroom wall. (Provided Photo Johnson County Daily Journal)
Police in Franklin place extra patrols at the school after threats found on a bathroom wall. (Provided Photo/Daily Journal)
Extra police will be at the school on Thursday and Friday.  Superintendent David Clendening said the threats were not credible enough to close the school.

Late Thursday afternoon the school was placed on a code yellow lockdown and all afternoon activities were cancelled due to the threat.

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