BETHLEHEM — A 17-year-old Bethlehem Central High School student was arrested on Wednesday, Sept. 25 in relation to circulating an email containing false information of a potential threat of violence which caused public alarm, said Bethlehem police.
According to the police release, the email’s content was investigated and found to have been sent by another student to “a large number” of fellow high school students. The email had allegedly included false information about an eventual crime happening as well as potential violence to other students. The investigation led to an arrest of an individual student — his name was not disclosed — who was charged with falsely reporting an incident.
The student was arraigned in the Town of Bethlehem Court before Judge Andrew Kirby and was released under the supervision of probation. He will return to court on Oct. 15 at 4 p.m.
Jody Monroe, Bethlehem Central’s superintendent, released a statement as well to inform the district’s families that the email contained “an internet meme that included threatening language. The email was sent to all students at the high school and was a response to an email from another student.” The email exchange had happened on Tuesday, Sept. 24 and was brought to the attention of Dave Doemel, the high school’s principal who immediately informed the police.
While the police investigation determined that there was no imminent threat of violence, Monroe wrote that parents, especially those with students in middle and high school, should speak with their children about the importance of speaking up; practicing good judgment on social media and email; and fostering a safe environment in school.
“Students need to know that it is never acceptable to even joke about threatening others. Perceived threats are serious matters and will be pursued as such,” Monroe wrote, adding that the district will follow disciplinary procedures that follow the school’s code of conduct.
Both the police and school district commended the students and parents who reported the email to relevant school officials and law enforcement quickly, showing that the “see something, say something” mindset was beneficial here.
Anyone with more information about the case but wish to remain anonymous may call 518-439-1503. Anyone else with further information may call Bethlehem police at 518-439-9973 and anyone with questions may contact Monroe at [email protected] or 518-439-7098.
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