Online threats against students probed in Granite Falls

GRANITE FALLS — Police and school officials in Granite Falls continue to investigate a series of anonymous online death threats made against students.

They met on Wednesday with police and school district officials from Stanwood, who dealt with a similar case about a year ago, said Shari Ireton, spokeswoman for the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.

The threats were posted on ask.fm, a social media website, and were reported to the school district in December. Specific acts were threatened against Granite Falls High School students who were identified by name. Some of the threats mentioned a bomb.

The city police department is set to merge into the sheriff’s office under a contract that begins March 1. Granite Falls police and the sheriff’s office are working with the school district on the threats investigation, Ireton said Wednesday. They are hoping to post daily updates to the school district website.

“We basically developed a team approach to solve the problem of the bullying but also to work together on a unified message to the community,” Ireton said. “We don’t believe that the threats are credible, but we are taking them very seriously.”

No suspects have been identified as of Wednesday, Ireton said.

A FBI agent also is involved in the investigation, according to a school district newsletter. The most recent threats were dated Dec. 20 and involved the Crossroads alternative high school and the middle school. The district also is hiring a security officer to patrol the high school campus during class hours while the investigation is ongoing.

The school district on Monday issued a public apology for not telling families about the threats sooner.

“As a result of your feedback, we’ve been revising our security and communication procedures to keep our students safe, and you informed,” Superintendent Linda Hall wrote.

In addition, the district hopes to host Internet-safety training for families next month.

Anyone with information about the threats should call 911. People who have cleared a state background check and would like to volunteer with the security and communication efforts should call 360-691-7713.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

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