Statement Made on Social Media Led to Hoopa Area School Bus Being Stopped and Searched by Law Enforcement Yesterday
Statements made on social media by a student at Hoopa Valley High School led the school resource officer to contact law enforcement Tuesday evening and led them to search a school bus Wednesday morning near Weitchpec.
According to Hoopa Tribal Police Chief Dana Norton, a 16-year-old male made a statement on social media that was concerning. Norton said he saw the statement but didn’t have it in front of him. However, he said, the statement said “something to the effect that when someone is depressed, it can make someone want to go to the school and shoot.”
Norton said that officers responded to the student’s home and met with him and his family and the family was very responsive. And, Norton explained, it turned out that the student was referring to something that had been said to him. “There is this group– all the friends kind of come to him and talk to him,” Norton explained. One of the student’s friends had made some statements that the 16-year-old was referring to in his post.
Norton said the statements that the student relayed could be seen as a potential threat. “So what we did was, we intercepted that bus in the Weitchpec Elementary area. [There were] two individuals on the bus.” One was the student who had made the concerning statements. Norton said that two Hoopa Tribal Police officer, the school resource officer who had a rapport with the student, and two deputies assisted in the interception.
“We let the school resource officer take lead because he has a rapport with the student…[They did a] search of the student and a bus search. Nothing was found.”
Norton said, “[The student] explained his side of the story that somethings he said were misunderstood…He was allowed to continue to school.”
The first student got a mental health evaluation and did not meet the criteria for concern about possible violent action but they felt he was carrying a burden of concern about his friends’ troubles. “Mental Health is getting him a good plan going with his family,” Norton explained. “I’m going to do some follow up.”
Today, Norton says, “I have officers and security just standing by. We had eight officers at the school. Our main concern to make sure that the community feels safe and to make sure the kid gets help.”
Norton said he “really wants to understand what is going on with our youth.” He added, “Indian country–it is a beautiful place to be and I’m proud to be from here. I want them to be proud, too”