Social media posts and a threat of school violence caused alarm amongst West End High School students and parents.

A student was removed from the school after a threat was reported to school resource officers at West End High School on Sept. 8.

The SRO immediately began a coordinated investigation with the Etowah County Board of Education and Etowah County Sheriff’s Office Investigation Division to identity the sources of the information.

“Through the proper protocols for the Etowah County Sheriff’s Office and Board of Education, a home visit was conducted immediately to determine if any weapons were present or access to weapons,” said Etowah County Sheriff Jonathan Horton.

“The juvenile in question was removed from school immediately after it was reported according to the Board of Education’s protocol.”

In subsequent investigation, authorities found screenshots from a Snapchat account shared on social media were from a fake account created by an unidentified individual other than the juvenile accused.

The fake Snapchat post was made by a juvenile then shared with an adult for the promise of money. From there, the posts were disseminated on various social media platforms, Horton said.

A juvenile has confessed to creating the fake post and the case is being handled in the juvenile court system, Horton said.

“Over the past several days, the fake post being shared has caused alarm and trust issues with the Etowah County School System and law enforcement,” Horton said. “Due to this alarm, multiple students have missed several days of school.

“This is a prime example of believing everything that is shared on social media and continuing to share and not letting law enforcement and school personnel do their job and the public not trusting the process.

“These type cases mostly involve juvenile offenders, and some information cannot be distributed to the public due to privacy of juvenile court cases.”

Etowah County School Superintendent Dr. Alan Cosby said “the safety and security of students, staff and community as a whole continues to be and will always be the focus.”

The investigation remains ongoing and additional charges could be forthcoming.

“There is no known or active threat at West End High School or any Etowah County School or to any extracurricular activities at the school,” Horton said.

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