HEBRON, Neb. (KSNB) – Students and staff returned to Thayer Central Public Schools in Hebron on Thursday.
It was followed by the Thayer County Sheriff’s Office and the Nebraska State Patrol The identity behind the social media threat has been identifiedA school shooting proposal is possible.
Thayer Central Elementary Principal Eric Hoopes said several students saw the post on Instagram Friday afternoon and notified the teacher.
“Those students did exactly the right thing and they brought this post to the attention of adults,” Hoopes said. He said the teacher then took it to administration, where they contacted the Thayer County Sheriff’s Office, who then requested assistance from the Nebraska State Patrol.
Thayer County Sheriff David Lee said the safety and security of students and school staff comes first. Lee said they immediately contacted the Nebraska State Patrol.
“They have great resources,” he said. This is something that smaller communities like themselves don’t have access to.
They were trying to find the source of the threat.
Law enforcement was able to trace it to a former student of the past two years who now lives in New Mexico.
Sheriff Lee said the investigation is ongoing because they want to make sure it’s just one person and not others.
The sheriff added that they will try to get a warrant from the Thayer County Prosecutor’s Office, but he doesn’t believe that will happen until next week. He said they are awaiting results on other search warrants.
The school was closed for three days while the investigation continued.
Principal Hoopes said they had daily conversations with law enforcement and kept them informed of progress.
“We’d make a phone call in the morning, and we’d follow it up with a phone call every afternoon until we reached a resolution,” Hoopes said. “They did a great job answering questions and addressing concerns. Again, thanks to these two groups for working with us on this process.”
Hoops added that they have an emergency action plan that was followed and what guided them in this situation.
He added that the number one thing for them is to keep everyone safe, so he said when they were able to do that, they went on to some extracurricular activities, but some couldn’t.
One thing Hoops said he will take away from this situation is communication, something he said is key.
“Certainly, we’re very careful about the process that we use, and communication is one of the areas that we can improve through that process,” he said. He said, whenever you go through something like this, you have to think and learn.
Staff returned to the school on Wednesday afternoon where they were able to provide an update on what had happened since Friday.
He said it will take time for some to process, maybe today, tomorrow or next week.
“Honestly, it gets very personal because I have two children of my own who come to this building,” he said. Adding that it was important to address and get law enforcement involved as soon as possible so they could come up with a back-to-school solution.
He added that the administration has a plan if the school is closed for other days.
“There was a plan on paper of how to teach students in an alternative way if they had to be closed,” Hoopes said.
Counselors and law enforcement will be around in the coming days as the school gets back into full swing.
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