SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash., December 10, 2021 – Three students in local school districts have been arrested over the last few days for making threats against schools in separate incidents. A 12-year-old in Everett and a 13-year-old and 14-year-old in Mukilteo face charges for threats against schools in their districts, just days after the fatal Oxford, Michigan school shooting.
“We have seen a recent increase in school threats. Last week our office responded to investigate four separate threats at schools within 48 hours. These incidents are taken very seriously and individuals partaking in this kind of activity will be held accountable,” Courtney O’Keefe, Director of Communications of the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, told the Lynnwood Times.
Mukilteo School District school threats
On December 1 around 8:30 p.m., Snohomish County Sheriff’s Department deputies were alerted to an anonymous social media post that made threats of a shooting against three Mukilteo schools: Explorer, Voyager, and Mariner. The deputies responded immediately, using search warrants to identify the device that sent the post and responding to the suspect’s residence, according to a release by the Snohomish Sheriff’s Department.
The suspect, a 14-year-old former Mukilteo School District student, was arrested and booked on six felony charges, including three charges for threats to kill and three charges for threats to bomb or injure property including public or private school, according to Fox 13 Seattle. He has since been taken to the Denney Juvenile Justice Center.
“There was no evidence that the individual had the resources or access to anything to follow through with this threat. The individual also stated it was meant to be a joke,” O’Keefe told the Lynnwood Times. Due to the severity of the threat, the Sheriff’s Office has treated the “joke” as a real threat amidst the rise of school shootings across the nation.
Most schools across the Mukilteo School District continued class as usual on both Wednesday and Thursday. The district sent the following letter to parents:
To the families at Mariner High, Voyager Middle and Explorer Middle schools,
Tonight, several students reported seeing a threat on social media directed at Explorer, Voyager and Mariner schools. We have reported the threat to local law enforcement and are working with law enforcement and staff to assure all school campuses are safe. There will be extra law enforcement presence at the schools tomorrow as a precaution.
When an incident of this type occurs, we provide as much information to you as possible. We do, however, have to be cautious not to share information that may interfere with the investigation of the incident. Thank you in advance for avoiding speculation about this incident and not spreading rumors.
We appreciate the students who saw the threat reporting it right away. If you or your student has any information regarding today’s situation or any other threat to our students, please call 911 or submit a tip through district Safe Schools system any time.
We take any threat seriously. As always, the safety of our students is our priority. We will continue to inform you of any event that may have an impact on your child and will provide you with as much information as possible.
Mukilteo School District
The next night on December 2, a 13-year-old student alleged to have received a phone call from a blocked number, which he claimed was from a classmate who said there would be a shooting at their school. However, upon reviewing the phone records of both parties, the Sheriff’s Office deputies found no evidence of such a call on either party’s phone. The 13-year-old was arrested for false reporting after accusing the classmate of threatening a school shooting.
“There are severe consequences for threats like this, including involving law enforcement, regardless of the true intent. We urge parents and guardians to please talk with their children about the seriousness and the consequences related to these kinds of threats so we can focus on learning,” Mukilteo Communications and Public Relations Director Diane Bradford told the Lynnwood Times.
“We are asking students and families that, ‘if they see something, say something.’ Positive relationships and vigilance are the best ways to maintain a safe school environment,” Bradford added.
Other School Districts
Snohomish County Deputies are also investigating threats made against students at North Middle School in Everett. The suspect, a 12-year-old boy, could face charges after allegedly writing threats on a bathroom stall at North Middle School where he attended. The Snohomish Sheriff’s Department has forwarded criminal charges against the 12-year-old to the Prosecutor’s Office and the investigation is still underway.
Similarly, Bothell High School in the Northshore School District canceled classes on Thursday after police were notified of a threat graffitied on a bathroom stall. The Bothell Police searched the school amidst rumors of weapons on site, but no weapons were found at the school.
Both threats on the bathroom stalls were noticed and reported quickly.
These four incidents come days after news reports of the school shooting in Oxford, Michigan. The alleged gunman, a 15-year-old sophomore, was taken into custody after three students died and eight were injured in the shooting.
Videos of the Oxford shooting have been circling social media since, going viral on TikTok and Instagram, two platforms frequently used by high school students.