Girl thought school safety app was ‘stupid,’ sent fake reports, police say
According to court paperwork, the 16-year-old girl thought the app was “stupid,” so she sent false information about bringing a bomb and a gun to school, as well as doing a mass stabbing, in an effort to get the app shut down.
“We take this stuff incredibly seriously,” said American Fork Police Lt. Cameron Paul.
“We don’t take any chances on anything. If something comes through like this, we’re going to investigate it thoroughly.”
Messages from the cell phone app go to the SafeUT crisis line, run by the University of Utah. The crisis line is a statewide service for teens and others. It provides real-time crisis intervention, though texting or chatting, to report threats and bullying or get mental health assistance. The program and app have been credited with saving lives.
“The number of people that we have used it in order to talk about their stressers to be able to get resources to be able to just say I’m feeling suicidal and I need to talk right now. It has been a lot,” said Amanda McNab, who is a crisis counselor with SafeUT.
“For us it takes time away from the other texts or chats that are coming in,” said McNab.
American Fork police say the girl, who sent the messages last month, has been in trouble before and will now most likely face charges.
Tips submitted to the app are anonymous, but investigators were able to see they were all coming from the same address where that 16-year-old lives, and since they have had multiple encounters with her in the past, they knew who she was.
“We’ll meet up with the county attorney’s office and we’ll all decide what an appropriate resolution is, but we are looking at charges at this point in time,” said Lt. Paul. “We did a very thorough investigation and we have looked into every element we could think of and we haven’t found anything that could lead us to believe there was an actual threat of anything coming up.”
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