EUFAULA, AL (WSFA) - Students and teachers of Eufaula City Schools will return to class Friday, the day after after a social media threat targeted the system and forced its closure.
Police and school officials say they were alerted to the threat Wednesday evening and began investigating. The Facebook post said that the user planned to blow up all schools in Eufaula City Schools, as well as a system in neighboring Georgia.
Multiple agencies worked with police, including the FBI. Further investigation determined the post was not credible and police are now working to find the device where the post originated and the person or people who posted it.
“Our investigation has pointed us in the direction of a juvenile, but whether it’s a student, that has yet to be determined,” said Eufaula Police Chief Steve Watkins.
Police say they have brought several people in for questioning and are executing search warrants. They say the name and picture associated with the account where the post was uploaded are not linked to the threat.
“It’s fairly simple to go on someone’s page or post and use their photograph and set up a fake account," Watkins said, "and unfortunately that seems to be what happened in this case.”
Although the threat was deemed fake, school leaders say out of an abundance of caution they closed schools. Local private schools and Wallace Community College Sparks campus also closed as a precaution.
“We live in a time and a world where we can’t minimize things, and we have to take them at face value, and we have to react accordingly to make sure that we’re keeping everybody safe,” said Deltonya Warren, Interim Superintendent for Eufaula City Schools.
Investigators went to each of the five schools in the system Thursday morning and performed sweeps. They deemed each facility safe. They also plan to have extra police presence on campus Friday.
This is the second threat targeting Eufaula City Schools in the last two months. In September, someone made a threat targeting the Eufaula vs. Northview game. Police say they have made an arrest in that case and are working hard to quickly close the current case.
“We do have other officers who have children in the system. A threat to our children is a threat to us and will be taken seriously,” said Watkins.
“Every single time we’ll treat it like it’s the real thing and our decision will be based on what’s best for our students, our staff, and our community,”said Warren.
The system says they are constantly working to upgrade technology to keep students and staff safe. The person or people responsible could be charged with a felony and face federal charges.