Snapchat Threat Shuts Down High School in Missouri

Update: 3:05 p.m. ET—After closing Clayton High School in Missouri Monday due to a perceived threat posted on Snapchat, the School District of Clayton said in a statement that it had determined the social media post did not threaten the school's safety.

"We have since determined that the post was not a direct threat to our high school," the district's Superintendent Sean Doherty said in a statement. "The original Snapchat post, which showed an image of a person with a gun and referenced 'CHS,' was made last week by a 17-year-old Clovis High School (CHS) student in New Mexico. A number of school districts across the country with high schools identified as 'CHS' have been addressing this same issue this morning. While we are still investigating why one of our students would choose to repost that image, our partners at the Clayton Police Department have assured us there was never a direct threat to Clayton High School."

Original story:

A high school in Missouri was shut down Monday because of a threat made on Snapchat. While there was a direct threat, Clayton High School was closed "out of an abundance of caution," according to a statement from the School District of Clayton.

"Last night we became aware of a Snapchat post that made a direct threat to Clayton High School," the district's statement said. "Out of an abundance of caution, we are closing CHS and the Orange and Blue Rooms, today, Monday, April 9. We have been working with Clayton police throughout the night to investigate. However, given the timing and the limited amount of information we have at this point, the best way to ensure the safety of our students and staff is to close the campus. We do feel that this threat was specific to CHS and that there is no reason to close any of our other schools. However, we have asked our partners at the Clayton Police Department to have an increased presence at all of our schools today."

Clayton police did not immediately respond to Newsweek's request for comment for further information on the nature of the Snapchat threat and the increased police presence throughout the district. 

"The post basically said not to come to school," district spokesman Chris Tennill told the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch. "There was a gun in the image."

Tennill told the Post-Dispatch that the image was posted by a student at the school, but the person in the photo was not that student. He told the paper they had less than three hours to make a decision on whether or not to close the school and opted to shut down the school. Much is still unknown about the nature of the threat.

"We're even trying to figure out if it was an image pulled off the internet," Tennill told the Post-Dispatch. "As best we can tell it's not a Clayton student."

The district did not immediately respond to Newsweek's requests for further information. 

School districts and police across the country are on higher alert amid a nationwide discussion regarding gun control and school shootings sparked by the protests led by students from Parkland, Florida, who survived the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February. Threats of violence at schools across the country rose after the tragic shooting left 17 dead, BBC News reported. The Ohio-based group the Educators' School Safety Network told the BBC they saw up to 65 threats per day in February after the attack earlier in the month in Florida.

"We always know there's an uptick after an event like [Florida's school shooting]—a contagion effect, a copycat effect," Amy Klinger, a representative for the Educators' School Safety Network, told the BBC at the time. "But this is a significant spike."