One day after local schools added extra security in response to a threat posted on social media application Yik Yak, the Mobile County District Attorney’s office announced an arrest in the case.
A 16-year-old student was arrested Thursday and charged with making a terrorist threat, a Class C Felony, said District Attorney Ashley Rich.
The threat, which was posted to the app that allows anonymity, put several area schools, including McGill-Toolen High School, on alert Wednesday.
“Our administration, faculty and staff have all been notified to be extra cautious, and in addition to our regular police officer and campus security, we have another police officer on duty all week,” according to a statement released by McGill-Toolen President the Rev. Bry Shields.
Rich said that in addition to the specific threat, a general threat was made to four other area schools, although she declined to name them. Lagniappe readers commented through Facebook that police were stationed at St. Paul’s, UMS-Wright, Murphy and Baker, although that could not be verified with the schools.
Mobile County Public Schools released a statement Wednesday through its Facebook page to reassure parents that the affected campuses are safe and dispelled the threats as rumors.
“We have coordinated and cooperated with law enforcement in investigating the rumors today and determined them to be unfounded,” the post read.
Rich said her office always makes threats against schools a priority and the speed at which an arrest was made in this case further proves that.
“We take issues of school safety very seriously,” Rich said. “I’m very glad we were able to have an arrest in this case so quickly.”
Although the app allows posters to remain anonymous, Rich said, the program requires the user to activate location services, which means authorities could determine where the post came from.
Both UMS-Wright and McGill-Toolen have recently banned the use of smartphones on campus, due to apps like Yik Yak. The app has also been linked to school bullying cases.
Rich believes the app only exacerbates the bullying problem on campus.
“I think this app serves no purpose,” she said.
The app is designed for users over 17 years old, but a user can get around that by simply pressing a button.