GHS student charged for threat
GLOVERSVILLE – A student at the Gloversville High School was arrested Monday after he threatened to “shoot up” the school while expressing his displeasure on a social networking site about a song that was being played over the loudspeaker, officials said.
Brandon A. Fernandez, 16, of 45 E. Eighth Ave., was charged with third-degree falsely reporting an incident, a misdemeanor.
School officials said this morning the student’s remark on Twitter was made over a “Music Monday” selection from a popular television show, which was played between classes on the loudspeaker.
According to police, he tweeted from his personal account that he was going to “[expletive] shoot this school up.”
“We understand that sometimes students may say things they don’t mean, but we have to take all potential threats seriously and fully investigate them,” Superintendent Michael Vanyo said. “We are trying to teach the kids that if you yell fire in a theater or bomb on a plane, even if you are joking around, there are consequences.”
Vanyo said Principal Richard DeMallie was alerted to the student’s Twitter post Monday and immediately contacted the Gloversville Police Department. Vanyo said the student faces disciplinary action for violation of school district policy.
Police Chief Donald VanDeusen said the high school was alerted through STG Service, a government agency that monitors social media.
This is the second incident within just a couple months where the high school has been threatened via a social media site.
Trevor Blanchard, 24, of 104 Stanyon Park Drive, Speculator, was charged in September with making terrorist threats and disseminating indecent materials to minors, both felonies.
Police said Blanchard’s threats were relayed to a female GHS student via Snapchat, a social media platform that allows people to send photos and text through mobile phones.
Police said Blanchard allegedly sent the girl a chat message requesting photos of herself. When she refused, the chief said, Blanchard allegedly sent lewd photos and subsequently made threats toward the girl and her friends, whose names he got through social media.
“Blanchard’s actions were being used to coerce an individual into helping him commit an unlawful act with the threat of there being a mass destruction of the school if she didn’t comply,” VanDeusen said. “This individual basically reported an incident via Twitter that would indicate there would be something happening at the school that wasn’t really going to happen, that would cause panic and alarm.”
VanDeusen said police officers will meet with all high school students this week to explain the consequences that can occur if threats are made against the school.
“There are other outlets for displeasure and students need to be aware not to post anything on social media sites that can be misconstrued as a threat because these are the consequences for it,” VanDeusen said. “Maybe they are just venting, but we can’t know whether it’s that or they are serious.”
Fernandez was transported to the station where he was processed and arraigned in City Court and released.