Charges pending in school threat

The day after a student allegedly made a “threat” of violence at Central Cambria Middle School, normal classes have resumed.

Wednesday’s threat was one of many made in the region in the wake of a Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people.

Violence has been absent from the local threats, but Central Cambria Superintendent Jason Moore and State Police Trooper Cliff Greenfield warned that consequences are real.

“Any student who would do something similar would not be permitted to be in school,” Moore said of those making threats. “They know there is going to be legal as well as school discipline.”

A Central Cambria Middle School student contacted a teacher about lunchtime Wednesday after seeing a possible threat of violence posted on a social media app, Moore said.

From there, the teacher followed protocol contacting the building principal, who, in turn, contacted Moore.

“We felt there was enough there to contact state police and have them investigate,” Moore said.

According to Greenfield, state police troopers responded at the school about 1:45 p.m. to conduct an investigation.

Though the police initially reported, “there was no active threat in the facility,” Greenfield said there was a threat made and criminal charges are pending.

Greenfield said it’s common for similar threats to be made following large-scale shootings like the one in Florida.

“Law enforcement in general is always on alert for copycat incidents after a school shooting,” he said.

Every threat must be investigated, and those investigations, whether credible or not, can significantly tie up police resources.

“We have to do the best we can with the resources we have,” Greenfield said. “Sometimes, an incident may involve a large response from troopers.”

If a threat is made and police identify the person who made it, criminal charges of making terroristic threats and disorderly conduct typically are filed, he said.

Moore said it’s important that students think about those consequences before making bogus threats.

“It’s just kind of an attention-seeking thing,” he said. “I don’t understand it.”

Moore said he’s proud of the student or students who alerted teachers and administrators to the possible threat.

“We really owe it to them. That’s what we’ve been emphasizing for the last couple of weeks,” he said. “That’s the real highlight for me.”

Mirror Staff Writer Sean Sauro is at 946-7535.