Snapchat argument fueled DPHS threat rumors

Staff Writer

A Spokane County Sheriff’s Department investigation believe a Snapchat argument was responsible for rumors of a security threat at Deer Park High School on Oct. 16.
Deputies and school district officials worked together to determined there was no direct or indirect threat to any school. The three primary students, initially involved, stated they were merely trash talking to each other.
Deer Park High School officials received information on Oct. 15 about a potential violent threat (posted on Snapchat) that was made against a small and specific group of students.
Administrators worked quickly and in conjunction with the district’s school Resource Deputy, Dan Dutton, and the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office to gather as much credible information as possible about the specific nature of the threat.
It was determined that the information posted online originated from outside the Deer Park area.
Through information gained over the next several hours, it appears the actual incident occurred on Oct. 14, during a Snapchat group chat between students from Deer Park High School and North Central High School.
Initially, the incident started with the small group “talking ***” to each other about who was better in basketball. As several others were brought in or joined the group chat, it escalated and became more personally confrontational with people talking about fighting and about beating each other up.
As people began texting and spreading information regarding the Snapchat argument, the rumors began to build, with the story becoming exaggerated.
Deputies interviewed several students, including the ones involved in the original trash talking. None of them felt threatened, nor did they think anyone else was threatening toward a school.
Because Snapchat is designed to delete messages to keep conversations private, Deputies were unable to view the entire group conversation. From interviews of multiple students and text messages obtained, they determined no actual threat was made to harm the school, any of the students, or staff.
As a precaution, DPHS Principal Joe Feist sent high school families a brief update via the district’s phone notification system to ensure families knew the district was in close contact with law enforcement.
Over the past year, the school district has implemented various security measures at its schools, including a communication system that will notify all classrooms simultaneously of a security threat and a need for a lockdown. At the high school access is limited during the school day to one entrance, which is guarded by a locked door that, can only be unlocked by school personnel.
Given the information currently available, law enforcement does not believe there is a real or credible threat to students at Deer Park High School or any other students or buildings in Deer Park. The schools held their regular sessions the following day.
The school district had additional law enforcement were present at DPHS and in Deer Park on Oct. 16.