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

East Valley High School students arrested for alleged threats that caused district schools to cancel Friday

Two East Valley High School students were arrested for alleged social media threats against LGBTQ+ students that caused the East Valley School District to cancel class at all of its schools Friday.

Late Thursday night, a resource deputy at the high school started investigating threats made toward East Valley High School students, according to a Spokane Valley Police Department news release. Other deputies, detectives and crime analysts worked throughout the night with school district administrators and the resource deputy to investigate the threats, which, along with statements and depictions of firearms, were mentioned in a group chat on the instant messaging app Snapchat.

The threats were made in a closed group chat toward students who support LGBTQ+ advocacy and International Transgender Day of Visibility, which was Friday.

Two students, who are minors, were identified as suspects, arrested and charged with suspicion of felony threats to bomb or injure property. They were booked into the Spokane County Juvenile Detention Center. A third suspect was identified but has not yet been contacted because they are out of the area.

Because none of the potential victims were aware of the threats, the students were not charged with hate crimes. Police continue to investigate and additional arrests and charges are possible.

School district administrators decided to close all schools Friday while the threats were investigated.

The police department asked parents to talk to their children about social media and how the comments and threats they make could result in their arrest.

“The safety of students and staff is the priority, and one of the most effective ways to prevent incidents like this is for parents to talk to their children about what they post online,” the release said. “Threats, especially toward schools/classmates, will not be tolerated, and causing fear in our schools is NEVER funny.”

School District Superintendent Brian Talbott addressed the “East Valley Community” in an email.

He wrote that although no victims were named, threats of harm were made against East Valley High School students who identify as LGBTQ+. Those involved in the alleged threats will be expelled.

“The intolerance, ignorance, and hate that sometimes comes to and through the schoolhouse doors is horrific at best,” Talbott wrote. “It is the same hate, intolerance, and ignorance displayed throughout society on any given day … This incident does not define East Valley; this is not who we are or who we wish to be. We will continue our efforts to educate and to practice acceptance. Hate has no place in East Valley.”

Talbott wrote he will send another message next week and prior to schools returning from spring break.