Social media spread false threat, Hissong says

WL Salem Sign 217

West Liberty-Salem school officials notified district parents late Wednesday night of a threat that spread via social media.

“The threat was not real,” Superintendent Kraig Hissong said via a text message to the Examiner. “(T)he district notified the Champaign County Sheriff and had some deputies on site this morning for added security.

“It is not known how the story was started, but (it) was spread by social media and was upsetting to many families.  

“The district conducted an investigation and determined that there was not a substantiated safety threat to the school yesterday afternoon.

“A call was placed to families after many calls were made to administrators’ homes by concerned parents who had listened to information from social media that I would assume was inaccurate.”

The incident comes three months after Ely Serna shot and seriously wounded Logan Cole with a 12-gauge shotgun on Jan. 20. Another student sustained minor injuries.

Ely, 17, faces hearings on May 5 as part of a process in Champaign County Family Courts to determine if he should be tried as an adult.

He has been charged with two counts of attempted murder; three counts of felonious assault; six counts of improperly discharging a firearm in a school; inducing panic; and illegal conveyance of a firearm into a school.

The May 5 hearing will include closed-door testimony from two psychologists and testimony from educators and others regarding the defendant’s competency to face trial.

The West Liberty-Salem Local School District Board of Education and school administrators continue to review security at the school complex.

“We have narrowed down some options,” Mr. Hissong reports, “and have placed orders on egress windows. The board will be deciding next school year on the (school resource officers).”