A former student of Heard County High School has been arrested and charged in connection with online threats warning students not to attend class earlier this week, authorities said.
Usually about 650 students attend Heard County High, about 60 miles southwest of Atlanta, according to Channel 2 Action News. But attendance was down to 100 students Thursday after someone posted this message on social media: “Some of you guys are alright - don’t go to HCHS in Franklin, Ga on 11:28 a.m. tomorrow.”
The post led the Heard County School System to increase police presence at all five of its schools Thursday, the district’s associate superintendent said.
After a thorough review of the information obtained during the investigation by the Franklin Police Department, arrest warrants were issued for 19-year-old Andrew Owen Sanders, a former student of Heard County High School, Franklin police Chief Kevin Hannah said in a statement.
“Although no credible evidence was obtained during the investigation to indicate Sanders had planned any form of physical harm to the staff and students, the totality of the social media post made by Sanders is a criminal offense,” Hannah wrote.
Hannah told Channel 2 he doubted the threat’s legitimacy, but wanted to put decision-making power “in the parent’s hands where it belongs.
“If we felt this was a direct and legitimate threat, we would have canceled school today,” Hannah said.
Father Scotty Lee told Channel 2 even though the recent threat wasn’t the first the school received, he wasn’t worried.
“You know with the FBI being involved in it, I wasn’t too concerned about it,” Lee said.
Sanders was charged with terroristic threats and acts, and disrupting a public school.
He is currently being held at the Heard County Jail awaiting a first appearance, Hannah said.
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