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Instagram threat investigated at Pendleton middle school; poster identified

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PENDLETON (April 9, 2014) – A threat on Instagram prompted officials at Pendleton Heights Middle School to take action.

According to Superintendent Joe Buck, someone made a reference to “PHMS” in an Instagram post Tuesday night. The threat may not have been directed at Pendleton Heights since several schools around the country have the same initials. A school in Baltimore, Md., took similar action, Buck said.

The school alerted the police department, and 10 officers from local, county and state police were in the building to provide extra security. The threat is under investigation.

Buck also sent an email to parents Wednesday morning:

Dear PHMS Parents:

Last evening someone posted a threat against PHMS students anonymously via Instagram. The Pendleton Police Department was immediately contacted and a plan put into place to make sure our students were safe at school this morning. Ten officers from the local, county, and state police were in our building prior to students arriving and stayed until all students were safely in class. The school is working with the police to learn who is responsible for this threat.

Late Wednesday afternoon, school officials said the person responsible for posting the Instagram message had been identified.

“The safety of students will continue to be a top priority of South Madison Community School Corporation.  If at any time you believe the safety of our students is in jeopardy, please contact the school immediately; and if school is not in session, please contact the local law enforcement agency,” read a statement in part sent by school officials Wednesday afternoon.

The person’s identity has not been released at this time.