A frightening image making the rounds on Snapchat put Westside School District administrators on high alert this week. The Snapchat post showed a hand holding a gun and a message targeting Westside students.
Omaha Police determined the social media threat was a joke, but officers are not taking it lightly. Police arrested two people connected to the post. A Westside School District spokesperson confirmed the two people taken into custody are Westside High School students.
Westside Community Schools Director of Communication Brandi Petersen said the district started getting texts, emails and calls from concerned parents and students Wednesday night. The district credited these reports for helping them get to the bottom of the threat quickly.
“If there is any good that came from this, we are extremely happy that parents and students trusted us to send us this information and to let us know this is going on,” Petersen said.
After hearing about the social media threat — the district immediately called Omaha police. They also sent an email to parents Thursday morning, letting them know about the incident and that there was no danger to students.
Susan Wachner, who has four children enrolled at Westside schools, said it’s an important lesson in social media safety.
“As a parent, of course, we’re very concerned because we have kids here and in the district,” said Wachner, “I think every parent, we’re all exploring the new social media and how we best go about managing, as well (as) give the kids the opportunity to have freedom of thought. I feel that the word is getting out to the kids that it’s okay. It’s okay to share this.”
Omaha police have not commented as to whether the two people taken into custody will face charges.