Police to Increase Presence at Pāhoa School After Reported Social Media Threat
Hawaiʻi Police will increase their presence at Pāhoa High and Intermediate School after a threat to bring a weapon to school was made on social media.
School administration sent a letter home to parents on Friday, Nov. 5 informing them of the reported threat, which was allegedly made by a 13-year-old boy in an Instagram friend chat group.
According to Hawaiʻi Police, the Pāhoa teen indicated in the group chat that he had a shotgun and expressed bringing it to school to possibly cause harm.
“Students reported this to our staff and we are working with the Hawaiʻi County Police Department,” Principal Kim Williamson stated to parents in a letter sent home Friday afternoon.
HPD’s Puna patrol officers arrested the boy at 12:30 a.m. on Friday at his home and he was released back to his parents at 4:55 a.m. pending further investigation.
“We would also like to thank Hawaiʻi County Police for their speedy apprehension of the suspect,” the letter states. “These types of threats will not be tolerated on our campus and violators will face disciplinary action and possible criminal charges.”
An increased police presence will be at the school next week in an effort to keep the campus secure.
“The well-being of everyone at Pahoa High & Intermediate is a continual community effort and your voice is a critical part in keeping our campus safe,” Williamson stated. “We ask for your help to speak to your child(ren) about the serious repercussions that can result from such actions. I also want to applaud those students who saw the threat and made sure that adults knew what was happening.”
Williamson also asked adults to report social media threats or inappropriate comments and to not engage in ways that might inflame the situation.
“We teach our students to be responsible, respectful, community-minded citizens and we expect all adults to be good role models for our keiki,” she stated.
A police presence has also increased around Kealahehe High School after an alleged threat to campus was discovered on a restroom stall.
The school administration sent a letter home to parents on Thursday, Nov. 4. The letter states the Hawaiʻi Police Department was notified and school officials are working with authorities on the investigation and safety protocols.
“All threats to our school and students are taken seriously and promptly investigated,” stated principal James Denight in the letter. “I want to assure you we are doing everything possible to ensure the safety of our students and staff.”
Police say they plan to have a presence on campus until early next week.