Agawam threat leads to discussion over social media - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Agawam threat leads to discussion over social media

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)

A threatening message sent to the phone of a student at Agawam High School led to the school to be dismissed early on Friday. 

Now, the superintendent of schools is issuing an important reminder to talk to your kids about social media. 

When Agawam High School went into a shelter-in-place order Friday morning, social media was blowing up with rumors as to why

A threatening message was sent to the phone of a student and their parent reported it early that morning. 

Now, parents are hoping that their children would know to report something suspicious

"I would hope they would.  I would also hope they go to the administration or a teacher and report that if something like that happened," said Heidi Holmes of Enfield, CT.

The threat that led to the dismissal of Agawam High School was not directed at any student or the school specifically, and after further investigation, it was found to have origionated from the west coast.

"The police were great with responding.  They were all over it because you can't take these lightly.  We know that there are a lot of them going around and apparently, after they traced it down and did some detective work, it seems like it originated from the west coast somewhere.  So, it wasn't anything local, but you don't know that," said Agawam Superintendent Bill Sapelli.

Agawam felt they handeled the situation the best they could, keeping everyone informed of what was happening so not to cause panic.

"We put a ConnectEd message out to all parents as soon as we could.  As we know as social media being what it is, the kids were already tweeting out and there were things that were going out that were untrue," Sapelli added.

Social media rumors happen quickly and can act like a runaway train.  A friend can like something and then you can see the post. 

It's important to know that even if you are not sharing something, people on the internet still know what you like and comment on.

"When you're sharing something or liking something, you have to look closely about where it came from and what it means, especially issues were it may be a threat implied or something that is racist or what have you. It can be taken as an endorsement," said Stan Prager with GoGeeks in East Longmeadow.

Not everyone knows what they're liking.  They can see a photo of something seemingly innocent that can have major consequences, but parents are encouraged to talk to their kids about social media and knowing when to report something.

"They did have training on this. The other thing is to report to the office and it can be anonymous and then it goes to the authorities with any threats being made." said Mark Ellis of Springfield.

As of right now, the Agawam incident remain an ongoing investigation and there are no known suspects.

Copyright 2017 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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