2 student Snapchat issues draw Middletown police investigations this week

Students at Middletown schools were on spring break this week, but school officials and city police worked together tracking down an alleged social media threat and inappropriate posting of photos by students.

On Thursday evening, Middletown police reacted to an alleged social media threat of violence on Snapchat against the Butler County city’s middle school.

A Facebook posting on the school system’s page said: “Thanks to the ‘See Something, Say Something’ initiative, (Thursday) night the Middletown Police Department and Middletown City Schools were alerted to a Snapchat threat of violence against the Middle School.

“Our local law enforcement went to the juvenile’s house and questioned the individual. Following the advice from local law enforcement, we consider the threat over and non-credible

Earlier Thursday, school officials announced postings on Snapchat by Middletown High School students from the previous week had contained “inappropriate” photos.

Maj. David Birk said school resource officers became aware of reports of the photos last week and started their investigation with detectives and the Butler County Prosecutor’s Office.

There were no teachers or staff involved, Birk said.

“Right now we’re gathering information,” Birk said. “We’ve issued search warrants for (electronic) devices.

Both Snapchat and Facebook require search warrants to obtain information.

With students on spring break this week, Birk said he hopes to resolve the matter sometime next week.

He said a person who sends or receives inappropriate items and re-sends them to other people can be charged with disseminating matter harmful to juveniles or sending and receiving obscene materials of juveniles, which is a fifth-degree felony.

Elizabeth Beadle, Middletown City Schools spokeswoman, said district administrators and the SROs are aware of the investigation.

“This is an active investigation with our Middletown Police Department and we are appreciative of their efforts to keep our students safe,” she said.

“Although our students and teachers are on spring break, our district administrators and Middletown police officers are always vigilant when it comes to our students. We take all threats seriously and we encourage our community to contact us if they see something or hear something.”

Staff writer Ed Richter contributed

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