Threat hoax and false rumor momentarily rattles Mounds View district schools

The New Brighton Department of Public Safety investigated a threat hoax on social media that appeared to include Irondale High School, determining there to be no danger.  

A Snapchat copycat threat, concocted in the weeks following the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, had gone viral, and contained the abbreviation “ihs,” prompting those who saw it to associate it with Irondale, school officials said.

Many in the Irondale community, as the viral message spread in their social media circles, contacted Principal Amy Janecek and police concerned the school may be targeted. 

After a night of investigation, New Brighton police found no credible danger and posted a Facebook message on Feb. 22, assuring families that Irondale was safe. 

Janecek emailed families on Feb. 25, the night before the day on which the threat hoax mentioned a possible attack, reassuring parents of the school’s safety, and informing parents the police believe the hoax originated out of state. 

“This was intended to frighten students, parents and staff across the nation,” Janecek said. 

For some Irondal students, that fear was damage enough.

“I watched as my classmates made the choice between education and their safety, a choice no child should ever have to make,” said Irondale senior Molly Overkamp, speaking to the Mounds View City Council on Feb. 26, her comments coming as she spoke in opposition to a proposed gun range in the city. 

In her four years at the school, she said, she’s always felt safe, but “that feeling of safety was violated” last week.

Irondale was not the only Mounds View school momentarily rattled by such fears last week. 

On Feb. 27, in a Facebook post, New Brighton police dispelled a rumor of a threat against Highview Middle School, noting that officers visited schools throughout the day to increase visibility and help people feel safe. 

The rumor started when a poster on the Neighborly New Brighton Facebook page assumed, after seeing multiple public safety vehicles in the school’s parking lot, there must be a threat to Highview.

“There was not,” said New Brighton Director of Public Safety Tony Paetznick. 


— Solomon Gustavo

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