Scappoose middle-schooler arrested after making online threats
UPDATE: A Scappoose Middle School student was taken into police custody Sunday, Oct. 8, after he allegedly made threatening comments in an online chat room, which were reported to the Scappoose Police Department.
The 13-year-old male student, who is not being identified due to his age, was charged with one count of disorderly conduct after he made threatening comments Saturday, Oct. 10, said Scappoose Police Chief Norm Miller.
The boy was using a live chat feature on the video streaming site YouTube when he made a threat against the Scappoose Middle School.
Someone saw the comments and reported them to the police department, Miller said, and officers opened an investigation to determine who made the threat.
The Scappoose School District issued a statement Monday morning alerting parents to the situation that unfolded over the weekend.
"We want you to know that throughout the investigation the Scappoose Police Department has determined that this was not a viable threat. While we take all threats seriously, we want to convey that at no time was anyone in danger," the statement read.
Because of the nature of the chat room, where multiple people are commenting at the same time, Miller said at first it was unclear if the person making the threats was an adult or a juvenile. Officers had to follow many leads and identify participants in the conversation before determining who made the threat, Miller explained.
"This is textbook investigation, where you're following up on leads and putting together the pieces of the puzzle," Miller said. "And the outcome was great due to the officers following up on those leads."
Scappoose police identified the suspect within one day and charged the student Sunday.
The boy was lodged into the Cowlitz County juvenile detention center in Washington because Columbia County does not have a juvenile detention center, Miller explained.
The boy's case is now being reviewed by the juvenile court in Columbia County. District Attorney Jeff Auxier is tasked with reviewing the case.
While Auxier would not comment on specific details of the case, he said agencies are working together to ensure community safety.
"I guess what I would say right now is that all of the authorities that would play a role in a juvenile delinquency case are working together to coordinate a response to this to ensure the safety of the community," he said.
Interim Scappoose Superintendent Ron Alley said the school district was notified by police about the arrest and deferred to the police department to handle the investigation.
In general, Alley said the district assesses discipline in such cases based on established policies. Students who threaten to hurt others or themselves, or to damage school property, could be expelled, the policy states.
"Words and actions including email, text or other communication that threaten other people, even among friends or in jest, are subject to disciplinary action up to expulsion and referral to law enforcement," the policy adds.