SPS student arrested following threatening text messages

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Police arrested a Springfield Public School student last week after they say that student sent threatening text messages indicating the possibility of violence at Kickapoo High School and making references to the Columbine massacre.

School police say a Kickapoo student received the messages from a number with which the student was unfamiliar. The text message recipient and the recipient's parent reported the messages to police.

"Whether it had been an absolute hoax, and we don't believe it was, we don't believe it was necessarily going to rise to the level, but this student was trying to intimidate people," said SPS Police Director Jim Farrell.

The school district shared a letter with KY3 sent to parents regarding the arrest Wednesday afternoon. The student allegedly involved is in custody of juvenile services in Greene County. The student could face criminal charges.

In the letter, Kickapoo High School Principal Kelly Allison said, "The safety of our students and staff is our number one priority, and we are committed to keeping Kickapoo High School a safe place to learn and work."

Investigators say the threat was made on Thursday, October 5. The text mentioned a possible threat related to Friday, October 13. Farrell said an arrest was made within 48 hours.

The district says other threats have been investigated and ruled unsubstantiated. Students and parents are encouraged to report any information about a threat.

"I feel like they do need to do their due diligence before reaching out to us, but if there's any level of legitimacy to the threat, I want the information, that still protects the identity of the student obviously, but helps us keep our kids safe," said Darla Marler, a Kickapoo parent.

The Greene County Juvenile Office has jurisdiction in this matter, and its criminal investigation is currently in progress.

SPS police said there will be additional school police officers at Kickapoo Friday, and they have the option to call on the Springfield Police Department if they determine they need extra security.