CONWAY — Recent Facebook postings by a Kennett High School student who reportedly opined to her peers that if someone were to do violence at the school, they should do it in a “big” way, pose little to no threat to public safety, according to school-district and police officials.
At 10:49 a.m. Wednesday, Kennett Principal Neal Moylan sent an email to all parents that began by citing an article in that day’s edition of the Conway Daily Sun newspaper.
The article said several Kennett students were talking online over the past weekend about mass killings when one of them — seemingly sarcastically — suggested that if something were to happen at the school, it should be significant.
In response to comments from concerned classmates, the girl later posted that she was not planning to hurt anyone, implying that previously she was speaking hypothetically only.The exchanges were brought to the attention of Kennett administrators on Monday and the school, Moylan wrote, “...conducted an immediate and thorough investigation.”
“Over the past 48 hours, interviews with various parties involved, including local agencies, have been completed and the school has determined this is a low-level threat to the safety of students and staff members,” said Moylan.
He added that counselors “are available for any students who are concerned and would like to speak with someone.” Moylan encouraged parents to contact the school if they also had concerns and to “use this as an opportunity to speak with your child about the responsible use of social media.”
Police Chief Ed Wagner on Wednesday said Kennett High School did a threat assessment but he was not immediately aware of its conclusions. Wagner stressed, however, that he is not aware of any danger to the community, adding that his department’s school-resource officer is working with Moylan and Conway Superintendent of Schools Carl Nelson.
While Conway police are “certainly trying to keep our eye on things,” said Wagner, “it’s not our case” nor is there any crime that has been committed.
Without getting into operational details, Wagner said his department is well aware of social media and the Internet and has used both to prevent as well as solve crimes and to monitor issues of local public safety.