SULTAN — Anonymous threats led to a delayed start for schools in Sultan on Tuesday.
Somebody claiming to be a student reportedly threatened to bring a gun to a morning class at Sultan High School, according to the school district. That message also was sent to a middle school student and staffers.
The trouble with websites or online forums that allow anonymous posting “is that they are very difficult for law enforcement to trace and track down the validity of what was posted and who posted them,” Sultan Superintendent Dan Chaplik wrote in a statement on social media. “These are very challenging situations to deal with when we have such limited information. Student safety is, and will always be, our first priority.”
There was no immediate information about the website used, only that it allowed people to post without identifying themselves.
Classes at all Sultan schools began two hours late. Efforts were under way to identify who made the threats, said Shari Ireton, spokeswoman with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.
Meanwhile, there was an increased law enforcement presence Tuesday at local schools.
In the past, threats to hurt classmates have resulted in criminal prosecution.
A former Glacier Peak High School student was charged last year with a felony after leaving written bomb threats in bathrooms on campus. She faced nearly a year in jail.
The former student, who was 17 at the time, said she had written the first of several threatening notes in 2015 on a dare. The others she blamed on her anxiety. She didn’t like public speaking, and had hoped the threats would spare her a speech she was scheduled to give that week.
She pleaded guilty to two gross misdemeanors. In March, a superior court judge sentenced her to two years on probation instead of jail.
A couple of students at Edmonds-Woodway High School also posted hateful messages online in 2015. They praised a man who killed nine people at a black church in South Carolina. The teens, then 16, pleaded guilty to felony harassment. They now have a criminal record.
A judge sentenced them to eight days in detention, a year on probation and 50 hours of community service. They also were expelled from school.