Seneca Valley student arrested in connection with social media threat – WPXI


JACKSON TOWNSHIP, Pa. – A grade eight student has been arrested in connection with a TikTok threat against the district.

District leaders released a letter with more details:

Dear Seneca Valley staff and parent (s) / guardian (s),

In the wake of TikTok’s disturbing post last Thursday, which forced us to switch to remote instruction on Friday, we are providing you with some updates. We would also like to share the safety measures for the return of students and staff from winter vacation on Monday January 3, 2022.

As you will recall, on Thursday, December 16, TikTok threats related to Seneca Valley prompted the district to switch to a fully distance education model on Friday, December 17. As with all threats, an investigation was immediately launched to identify the person (s) / student (s) involved.

In partnership with the Jackson Township Police Department and the TikTok Security Team, the student responsible for the TikTok threat has been identified and arrested. The 14-year-old student is an eighth-grader in the district and has been formally charged with terrorist threats and disorderly conduct. He will also be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with district disciplinary policy.

The safety of our students and staff is always a top priority at Seneca Valley. As reported last week, in the future, students and staff can expect to see additional police officers in all of our schools as a precaution. We will also be doing random and unannounced metal detector / bag checks periodically on our high school campus (Grades 7 to 12). Please share with your students so that they are not afraid. It is also a good time to remind students that pocket knives, drugs (prescription or not), tobacco or tobacco-related devices (vapers, vape cartridges, electronic cigarettes, etc.) on their person – or in their vehicles – are in violation. District policy and they should not be in possession of it.

When it comes to digital citizenship, good online behavior is a topic built into our tech courses. We ask our families to partner with us on this topic by monitoring their children’s social media activity and talking to them about proper conduct online. Any threatening activity on laptops or the Seneca Valley network can and will be captured, preserved and shared with law enforcement. As a reminder, when a child posts or repostes inappropriate, harassing or threatening content, the police can track down an IP address, which identifies the device / user posting that information. We also suggest that you ask your kids to show you how social media platforms like Snapchat and TikTok work. Most will know and can demonstrate how they work, as well as how to preserve photos and videos, if necessary.

Finally, one of the best things we can do is to continually remind our students that if they “see something” online, please “say something” to a trusted adult. We encourage anyone with knowledge of the threats to immediately notify the district, the police, or Mr. Jason Young, Seneca Valley Safety and Security Supervisor, at (724) 452-6040, ext. 1620 or by email at [email protected].

As always, thank you for your partnership as we work to ensure a safe, secure and supportive learning environment for our students.

Truly,

Dr Tracy Vitale

Superintendent of Schools

and

Chief Terry Seilhamer

Jackson Township Police Department

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