Sheriff’s Office still investigating social media threats against Hancock school

by Geoff Fox

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office said Monday they had no suspects or investigative leads to announce regarding threats made on social media last week against Hancock Middle-Senior High School.

Those threats, which claimed there would be acts of violence against anyone at the school on Tuesday and then again on Wednesday, were removed from social media channels but were widely shared by concerned parents and community members.

Law enforcement officials told community members they should report such threats to police or the school, but should not re-post or share them.

According to Public Information Officer Sgt. Carly Hose of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the School Resource Officer at the school was notified of the threat by school staff as soon as they were made aware of both threats.

The first threat was made Tuesday morning, April 19, and a second was made later that evening.

The first threat warned of violence that day with the second warning of violence on Wednesday, April 20.

Police presence was visible Tuesday and Wednesday at Hancock Middle-Senior High School.

On Tuesday, students at Hancock Elementary were kept indoors during recess time. Across the street at the Middle-Senior High School, students were kept in their classrooms until 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Parents and families were contacted by Washington County Public Schools to say they were aware of the threat and were taking steps to work with law enforcement to ensure the safety of students.

“Out of abundance of caution and to give piece of mind to students/staff/community, there has been an increased police presence at the schools.” Hose said in an email to The Hancock News on Thursday.

Some parents picked their children up early from school on Tuesday. Some local parents said on social media that they did not send their children to school on Wednesday because they didn’t want to take the risk that the threats were a hoax.

When asked if there was any safety concerns to Hancock Elementary, Hose said there were no threats made directly to that school.

“Anytime there is a threat made to any of our schools, the Sheriff’s Office works closely with WCPS to ensure the safety of students, staff and the community and to investigate the incident,” Hose said. “We are very lucky to have such a good working relationship with our public school system.”

While school safety is a top priority to the Sheriff’s Office, Hose said they are still continuing the investigation of the threats made to Hancock Middle-Senior High School.

Because of that investigation, Hose said she couldn’t get into any specific information related to the case, persons, or any other information.