SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — Police believe a South Kingstown High School student was responsible for reported online threats that caused the whole district to be closed on Wednesday.
According to Superintendent Mark Prince, school administrators received reports Tuesday night from several parents and students about anonymous threats posted on social media. Around midnight, the district announced schools would be closed out of an abundance of caution.
“When the administration receives information about a threat to a school, we contact the police, and an immediate investigation begins,” Prince said.
During a news conference Wednesday evening, Chief Matthew Moynihan said the investigation led to a juvenile being identified as the person responsible for the threats. The department is now working with the attorney general’s office on determining which charges will be filed against that person.
“We are glad that all South Kingstown schools will be open tomorrow and parents and students can feel safe and comfortable that they will be in a positive learning environment,” Moynihan said.
“We do feel confident we’ve identified the threat and there’s no more concern for the students and the faculty and teachers,” he added.
Watch: South Kingstown police news conference (Story continues below.)
The chief wouldn’t go into specifics about the nature of the social media posts, but called them “disturbing” and “threatening in nature.”
Moynihan urged people to be vigilant and not hesitate to report suspicious activity.
“This case, really a breaking point for us was for someone in our community to come forward and share some information and really assisted the great work by our detectives in solving this incident,” he said.
Detectives don’t believe anyone else was involved in the threats, according to Moynihan.
Parents and students who spoke to 12 News say it’s a shame this is happening.
“I don’t know what other choice they have,” Rob Procaccianti said of the school closure. “I think they’d be facing a massive liability if something did happen, and they had information and didn’t do anything about it. I think the aftermath of that would be horrendous.”
“We had a lockdown last year and it made me really, really nervous about everything. But I still feel safe in school because we have a lot of teachers that can help us,” fifth grader Zoey Sales said.
The incident remains under investigation.