AASD cancels dance mentioned in threat

Police say message was posted so students would attend a party, not the dance

A dance at the Altoona Area Junior High School scheduled for March 16 has been canceled, despite the fact that an investigation dispelled a 13-year-old seventh-grade student’s Snapchat warning of a shooting that day.

A district spokeswoman said the dance may be rescheduled.

Logan Township Police Chief Tim Mercer said Monday that the investigation to this point revealed the Snapchat post was sent Saturday to attract people to a private party instead of attending the school dance.

Mercer said the child had no immediate access to a gun from home. However, the investigation is ongoing. Police seized the student’s cellphone and are in the process of getting a search warrant to examine its contents.

Police were conducting a follow-up interview with the student and his parents Monday morning as Mercer and Altoona Area Superintendent Charles Prijatelj spoke at a press conference in Prijatelj’s office.

Prijatelj said once the investigation is complete, the student will be suspended and could face expulsion for one year, in accordance with school policy.

In addition, the student could face a multitude of criminal charges, Mercer said, including terroristic threats and harassment.

Reports of the Snapchat posting were made Saturday by parents and students to the district’s Facebook page, an email to a teacher and Altoona police.

“The student is being dealt with according to our policies and procedures,” Prijatelj said.

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