GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – Green Bay Police believe a 13-year-old boy is responsible for a social media post threatening several schools in the Green Bay area.
Capt. Kevin Warych said Monday that detectives worked through the night to identify the boy as the person responsible for the post that appeared on Facebook Sunday morning. It said “Schools that WE will be targeting on Monday October,10,2016 are Southwest, East, West, Preble, Washington, Franklin, Lombardi, Edison, East Depere and West Depere.”
The person who posted the threat had a profile picture of Pennywise–the clown from the movie “It.” The message was shared hundreds of times.
The teen, a student at a Green Bay school, is not being identified due to his age. Warych says charges are being referred to juvenile intake.
“Investigators have learned the threat was nothing more than a hoax and believe there was never a threat to any school,” police said. “Charges will be referred to the juvenile intake for the individual responsible for this incident.”
The post has been removed from Facebook.
“This clown phenomenon is not only popping up here in Green Bay, but throughout the nation and it’s really causing a lot of people some headaches,” Warych said. “And we had to call in a detective who worked throughout the night to identify this person so that Monday each parent not only in Green Bay but in De Pere as well feels safe.”
On Monday, police increased law enforcement presence around the schools named in the threat.
“We’re not the first community that’s had this threat on Facebook, so we obviously have to take it seriously, and we’ll track it down as best we can and take every reasonable precaution to make sure kids are safe,” said Green Bay Police Cmdr. Jim Runge.
Police say they and the school district take the safety of students very seriously and that they are taking precautions to ensure the safety of students, staff and families.
Police say this is being done as a precautionary measure and that people should not be alarmed. They will continue to monitor the situation with Green Bay Area Public Schools.
“It is frustrating because it takes up man power,” Cmdr. Runge said. “However if nothing happens [Monday], which we hope and we don’t think anything will happen, we’ll still try to track that person down.”
Both the Green Bay and De Pere school districts sent a letter to parents Sunday afternoon, saying that while they believe the threat is a hoax, student safety is their highest priority.
“You know, it’s best for people, or students, to be cautious about things and especially like stay close to people who you’re close with,” said Kia Vang of Green Bay.
To see the letter from the Green Bay Area Public School District, click on the following link: dear-parents
To see the letter from the Unified School District of Pere, click on this link: de-pere-messenger
Police say they don’t take these threats lightly, and they want to find whoever did this so that people learn you don’t mess with the safety of children.