Facebook users in Jackson County could be under investigation after deputies say people were posting false information about a school threat, causing an unnecessary panic.
A 16-year-old student at Section High School was arrested Tuesday night after two of his classmates reported hearing him make a threat.
Investigators say there was no danger to the school on Wednesday.
Parents tell WAAY 31 they’re just glad law enforcement responded when they did.
“I’m glad to show up and the county’s here and the local’s here," said parent, James Morris. "There’s like four or five different officers here guarding the school, so you know they’re all safe.”
Morris says his son goes to Section High School, and he was worried when he heard parents were picking up their kids after a threat was made.
“If somebody didn’t quit calling him names, the next shooting was going to be in Alabama at Section High School.”
That’s what Principal Gene Roberts says students reported hearing from a 16-year-old classmate.
But according to officials, parents had no reason to worry on Wednesday as everything was taken care of Tuesday night when the student was arrested.
But Sheriff Chuck Phillips says social media caused an unnecessary uproar when people were posting false information.
“There’s been a lot of rumors on Facebook this morning that the school is on lockdown, that guns have been found," Phillips said. "That is absolutely untrue.”
“Everybody talks and sometimes they don’t get everything exactly straight," Morris added.
But either way, officials say they won’t let these kinds of incidents slide.
“Anybody—whether they think it’s a joke or whether they don’t think it’s a joke—I want it prosecuted to the max," said Superintendent of Jackson County Schools, Kevin Dukes. "I want them to show that it is no joking matter and that they do not belong in Jackson County schools.”
“They shouldn’t take it lightly. I mean it’s not a light situation after all the things that’s happened," Morris said. "You don’t wait till it gets here before you act upon it. Do it now.”
Sheriff Phillips says they will also be investigating the false reports that were posted on Facebook, and he says some people may even be charged.
Officials are asking parents to talk to their children about how serious making threats can be, and that there are consequences even if it was intended to be a joke.