Extra police presence Friday at 2 Salt Lake County schools after threat

Students use SafeUT app to report threat at school

SALT LAKE COUNTY (News4Utah)- Students at West Jordan and Jordan High School will notice a larger police presence on campus Friday.

Officials at both school districts say they received tips Thursday night through the Safe UT app and other forms of communications about a possible threat to the schools.

At West Jordan High School police say the rumor started after a student reportedly shared with a therapist "thoughts" that the therapist relayed back to school authorities.

From there the rumor spread. As a precaution, police did search the school, but say they say they found no threat. 

Wendy Dau, the Principal at Jordan High, sent a letter to parents Friday morning explaining the situation at her school.

"Police and District officials have thoroughly investigated the circulating rumors of an alleged plan to cause damage at the school, and at this time believe them to be unfounded," the letter said.

Dau said all classes schedule will go on as planned.

"While we hope this message calms any fear you may have about sending your child to school, we also recognize that parents can decide what is best for their children and families."

According to a Canyons School District spokesman the false social media chatter had an affect on students.  Jeff Haney said half of the student population showed up for school today.

"We had only nine students in my first class," said Jesus Tsosie.  "Coming into the day I had like an odd feeling about it but after I saw the cops and stuff I was kind of relaxed."

And that offer of security was made possible as Sandy and West Jordan sent more police to patrol the outside and insides of the high schools.  The district also provided counselors for students.

Despite those efforts, some parents wanted their children home.

"It's terrifying and you hear about it all the time," said Dusty Bailey who took her two children home.  "You don't want to take a chance . You don't want anything to happen to your kids. So they have to come home."

Jesus Tsosie and his brother were also taken home by their father. Both attend Jordan High.

'It made me really concerned so like what happened a couple of days ago with a school shooting," said Thomason Tsosie.  "That really made me concerned and stuff like this we don't take lightly."

Sgt. J.C. Holt with West Jordan police said most of the media postings were sent through Snapchat.

"As you know those messages disappear quickly and so it (threat) may be difficult to track down where it actually originated," said Sgt. Holt.  "Others who started sending it didn't do anything wrong criminally."

But Jeff Haney with the Jordan District said passing those rumors on social media created more panic.

"Students need to send those messages to police," said Haney.  "Let them investigate and stop spreading rumors."

Haney said the SAFE UT app serves that very purpose.

Read the full letter from Jordan High School here.

VIDEO: Canyons School District Spokesperson Jeff Haney discusses the situation

As a precaution there will be extra officers on both campus Friday. Both schools will also have counselors on hand to speak with students. 

Jordan High School contact: 801-826-6200

West Jordan High school contact: 801-256-5600

The SafeUT Crisis Text and Tip Line is a statewide service that provides real-time crisis intervention to youth through texting and a confidential tip program – right from your smartphone.

 

VIDEO: Concerned mother pulls her kids from school


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