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Watertown High School Closed Over Social Media Threat

Officials Expect School To Reopen Tuesday

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Administrators at Watertown High School told students to stay home Monday following a threat made over social media.

School officials and the Watertown Police Department are investigating a threatening online exchange that involved students at the high school.

Superintendent Cassandra Schug said this is the first time the district has closed a school because of a social media threat.

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“If we’re not entirely sure that our environment is going to be safe and secure for staff and students, we’re always going to err on the side of caution,” said Schug. “And that was exactly what happened this morning.”

Schug said she expects the investigation to wrap up quickly and for schools to be open Tuesday. She’s encouraging parents to tell their children that joking or playing pranks online can be serious business.

“Students need to be very aware that what they put out there and how that information is going to be interpreted can have a profound effect on students, families, on their life and their future,” she said.

According to Ken Trump, president of National School Safety and Security Services, electronic threats to schools are on the rise and can mask who’s responsible.

“To start to track those threats requires not only your local law enforcement, but oftentimes we’re seeing state police, even the FBI involved,” he said.

A review of school threats by the firm found the vast majority are hoaxes and lead to a school closing about 10 percent of the time.

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