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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Student in Liberty School District accused of posting threatening video on Snapchat

For the second time in about a week, a minor has been accused of threatening classmates through social media in Spokane County and arrested.

The Liberty School District reported Tuesday night that a 15-year-old high school student had posted Snapchat videos about sexual assault and bombing his school, according to a sheriff’s office news release.

Superintendent Kyle Rydell said parents of a student who received the videos contacted school officials, who then called sheriff’s deputies. The video showed the student acting out a conversation or interview with himself, where he asks and responds to questions, including saying it wouldn’t be a school shooting if it were bombed instead.

During that conversation, according to the news release, the student says, “You shot up a school,” to which he replies, “No, technically I didn’t hit the school.”

Deputy Alexx Bullion interviewed the student and his mother later that evening, and the boy admitted that he made the video but wouldn’t repeat what was on it. When asked why he made the video, he told the deputy he “thought it was funny.”

The student had no actual plan to blow up the school, according to the sheriff’s press release.

Rydell said after the student’s arrest, he drafted a letter to parents in the district, which includes Spangle, Fairfield, Latah, Waverly, Plaza and Mt. Hope in southern Spokane County.

“This is the greatest example of our policy, which is ‘see something, say something,’” he said.

Rydell said since four students were shot at Freeman High School last year, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich has urged school administrators to take a zero-tolerance policy on threats toward school violence, including threats on social media.

He said social media can be good for connecting students outside of school, but at the same time, students run the risk of broadcasting information without thinking it through.

“There’s a good and a bad to social media,” he said.

In a prepared statement, Knezovich told students to consider the consequences of making threats, even jokes.

“Spokane County will have a zero-tolerance policy for making threats toward shooting up a school or classmates, and if you make such threats, we will arrest you,” he said.

A week ago on April 11, a middle school student at Central Valley School District made threats to other students on Snapchat, where he said there was “going to be a school shooting tomorrow.” The message was sent with a picture of a BB gun rifle.

When interviewed, the student told deputies he meant it as a joke. He was arrested and charged with a felony.