Girl arrested in threat against Ferndale school

Ferndale High School
Ferndale High School eabell@bhamherald.com

Authorities have arrested a girl in connection with a social media threat about a shooting at Ferndale High School, officials said Friday.

City spokesman Riley Sweeney said the quick arrest in connection with the Thursday threat was the work of a coordinated effort among local authorities, the FBI, and the social media app Snapchat, where the threat originated.

“It was all hands on deck,” Sweeney said. “We had officers at the school, detectives, the FBI and Snapchat. It was fast work, but we took (the threat) seriously.”

“Ferndale police were able to identify the IP address where the messages originated, and with assistance from Lummi Police and the FBI, Ferndale Police detained two juveniles,” Sweeney said.

Two 17-year-olds, a boy and a girl, were questioned about the threat and the girl confessed, he said.

She told authorities the threat was bogus, Sweeney said.

Nevertheless, the girl was booked into Whatcom County Juvenile Detention on suspicion of threat to bomb or injure property.

No weapons were found and it did not appear that the girl had access to weapons, Sweeney said.

Sweeney praised the person who alerted authorities about the threat.

“Our first line of defense against these dangers and threats is our small community,” he said.

The arrest comes as the nation is reeling from its most recent school shooting, which claimed the lives of 17 students and staff last week at a high school in the Miami suburb of Parkland.

A threat was made against Blaine schools late Thursday, prompting school district officials to cancel classes as a precaution.

Blaine school officials said that email threat later was determined to be a hoax, as was a similar nationwide online threat.

Ferndale officials didn’t cancel classes Thursday in the face of the threat, instead opting to extra police presence on the high school campus, as well as extra administration, security and counseling support.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty

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