UPDATED: Police arrest student in connection with threats against Salem middle schools

Update, 6:40 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14: Salem police have arrested a 12-year-old middle school student in connection with online threats made against two local middle schools Sunday.

The boy was arrested on two counts of disorderly conduct in the first degree and lodged at the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center, police said.

“Detectives confirmed the threats were not credible, and the safety of the schools was never in jeopardy,” Salem police said in a statement Monday evening.

Police did not name the boy and juvenile court records are generally confidential under state law.

The FBI’s Portland office assisted in the investigation.

Original story:

Salem police received several reports Sunday afternoon of threats to local middle schools but said the messages “do not appear to be credible” after investigating Sunday.

Police said people began receiving the message around 3:30 p.m.

A screenshot circulating in local Facebook groups Sunday afternoon showed a Snapchat message reading “Warning: tomorrow in Parish (sic) Middle School at 2:30 PM i am going to kill students with my riffle (sic) so be careful.”

A screenshot of a Snapchat message circulating Sunday in Salem threatened Parrish Middle School. Salem police said this and another threat “do not appear to be credible.”

Police said around 7:20 p.m., people reported a new message threatening Houck Middle School.

“As of this time the threats do not appear to be credible, however, in an abundance of caution SKPS will have additional security on campuses and the Salem Police Department will be spending extra time around local schools throughout the day,” police said in a news release.

Both schools will be on a regular schedule Monday, Salem-Keizer School District spokesman Aaron Harada said.

District parents received an email informing them of the threats. The district’s security team and local police were working together to investigate, the email said.

“The safety of our students, staff and families is our most important priority which is why we treat all reports seriously, and law enforcement is working diligently to determine the person responsible for making the posts,” the email said.

“Making a threat against an individual or a school can have serious consequences. Please take a moment and remind your student that making a threat is never a joke. In addition, starting and spreading rumors on social media is not appropriate or helpful,” the email said.

Anyone with information about the threats or the person’s identity is asked to call the Salem Police Department non-emergency line at 503-588-6123.

Contact reporter Rachel Alexander: [email protected] or 503-575-1241.

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Rachel Alexander is Salem Reporter’s managing editor. She joined Salem Reporter when it was founded in 2018 and covers city news, education, nonprofits and a little bit of everything else. She’s been a journalist in Oregon and Washington for a decade. Outside of work, she’s a skater and board member with Salem’s Cherry City Roller Derby and can often be found with her nose buried in a book.