Utah student in custody after threat causes ‘major disruption’ at junior high

Dec 16, 2021, 4:41 PM | Updated: Dec 17, 2021, 7:49 am

MAGNA, Utah – A student is in custody related to a threat at Matheson Junior High School in Magna, according to Utah’s Granite School District.

In addition to the specific threat, the district said it is “inundated with rumors circulating on social media about a possible threat to our secondary schools” and that the threat is in circulation around the entire state of Utah on social media platforms including Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok.

The junior high principal, Megan Madsen, sent a letter to students and families about the safety concern and said “We are very pleased to let you know that police have a suspect in custody for making the threat against our school,” but also said the threat did not appear to be credible but caused a “major disruption” to the school day.

“It caused needless fear in our students and staff members and was very unsettling for our community as a whole,” Madsen said. She also included a link to a video, displayed below, that was recommended every family watch together.

The suspected student was taken to juvenile detention and will face school and district discipline and criminal prosecution.

The school-specific threat was part of a general, statewide threat that was circulating among students all over Utah according to Benjamin Horsley of the Granite School District. He told media that a specific message is spreading “across many districts and schools in the state.”

He said the broader posting appears to be coming from out of state and doesn’t identify any specific school but does use the “GHS” moniker. It shares the widely applicable question, “Is our school next?” It is believed it could have come from Greenwood High in Colorado or a Gilroy High in Northern California.

Horsley said there was an additional threat to Matheson Junior High before details about the student in custody were known.

In addition, many district superintendents have released statements regarding the TikTok trend, asking parents to be aware of their child’s social media activity, and reassuring that a higher police presence would be in schools Friday.

The districts/cities with statements include:

  • Springville
  • Grand County
  • Granite
  • Canyons
  • Nebo
  • Duchesne County
  • Tooele County
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Utah student in custody after threat causes ‘major disruption’ at junior high