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6th Grade Student Charged in School Bomb Threats

GRIFFIN – The Spalding County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that a sixth grade student from Rehoboth Road Middle School has been charged with 12 counts of terroristic threats and acts and 8 counts of disorderly conduct in connection with the bomb threats that were made to Rehoboth Road Middle School and Spalding High School on March 12, 2019 via social media and again to Spalding High School, Griffin High School, Rehoboth Road Middle School, Kennedy Road Middle School, Cowan Road Middle School, and Griffin Christian Academy on March 18, 2019.

The juvenile offender was using a cellphone and was accessing Instagram through the Rehoboth Road Middle School’s WIFI system to distribute the threats. When we attempted to track the IP address of the cellphone, it returned to the Rehoboth Road Middle School WIFI system since the student was using that means to access the internet and the Instagram account.

To make the threats to the schools and a selected group of individual students, the offender highjacked another student’s Instagram account and changed the password so that the original student could not access the account. He also included his own real Instagram account name in the thread where the threats were being generated so as he was sending the threats he was also receiving the threats under his real name to make it appear that he was also a victim.

A different student whose account was highjacked was questioned and he and his cellphone were with school system and law enforcement officials when other posts were made using his screen name. He does know the student that was charged but does not know how his Instagram account was taken over. There is no indication that he had any involvement in the threats and he is also considered a victim.

The student offender that was charged is cared for by his grandmother and she has been completely cooperative with Rehoboth Road Middle School staff and Spalding County Sheriff’s Office Investigators. At this point it will be difficult to hold the grandmother accountable for the child’s actions or to seek restitution from her, since she had no knowledge that her grandson had a phone and did not know he was accessing social media. The offender’s parents cannot be held accountable for restitution either due to their current status in the child’s life. This student’s life is the perfect storm for bad behavior to manifest itself. He will be held accountable but will also receive other forms of help. The student has been suspended from the School System, and a tribunal is pending as well as a Juvenile Court hearing.

The success of this ongoing investigation was a result of the cooperative efforts of the Griffin-Spalding County School System, specifically various school administrators and their staff members, the Superintendent’s Office and staff, and the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office. We would also like to thank Griffin Police Department CSI Unit for their assistance.

We believe that this incident once again shows that the Griffin-Spalding County School System and the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office have taken a zero-tolerance stance when it comes to the investigation and prosecution of anyone that makes threats involving our schools or threatens the safety of our students and staffs. This incident, along with past incidents involving threats via social media should not reflect negatively on the overall safety of our GSCS schools. These incidents have been random acts by a limited number of individuals. They have been taken seriously, acted on immediately, and brought to a conclusion.

Submitted 3.25.19