Students face charges after threats at Northampton Area High School
NORTHAMPTON, Pa. — Two Northampton Area High School students face charges after multiple threats of violence were made at the school this month, authorities said Thursday.
School officials on March 10 found a message written on a bathroom stall that said a student was “gonna shoot up the school on the 14th,” according to Northampton County First Assistant District Attorney Richard Pepper.
- A 15-year-old girl in 10th grade will face charges of making terroristic threats after officials found a message threatening a shooting Tuesday
- Another 15-year-old girl in 10th grade was charged after allegedly claiming to have a gun in school Wednesday when it reopened
- Both will be charged as juveniles, Northampton County First Assistant District Attorney Richard Pepper said
That threat prompted school district Superintendent Joseph Kovalchik to close the building Tuesday.
A 15-year-old girl who is a 10th grader at the school soon will be charged as a juvenile with making terroristic threats, Pepper said Thursday.
She also could face harassment charges and was suspended from the school, Pepper said.
Second student charged
Local police and State Police patrolled the high school Tuesday when it was closed, and there was an increased police presence when it reopened Wednesday, Pepper said.
“The school took the right approach. You have to take these things very, very seriously.”Northampton County First Assistant District Attorney Richard Pepper
A second student was charged after allegedly stating she had a gun at the school Wednesday while police and K-9 units were in the building, Pepper said.
That student — also a 15-year-old girl in 10th grade — posted a picture of herself on social media with a caption that implied the K-9 units weren’t “gonna smell the Glock in my bag,” Pepper said.
The student did not have a gun in their possession, but she was removed from school property Wednesday, Kovalchik said.
She later was charged with making terroristic threats and has a juvenile-detainer hearing scheduled for Friday morning, Pepper said.
He credited Northampton school district officials for closing the high school Tuesday and bringing in more police in response to the threats.
“The school took the right approach,” Pepper said. “You have to take these things very, very seriously.”
Kovalchik on Thursday encouraged parents in a statement to “speak to your child about the seriousness and consequences of threats and words that potentially can be deemed a safety concern.”
Latest school threat incident
Several schools in the Lehigh Valley have closed in recent months after receiving threats of violence.
Parkland schools were shut down Sept. 8-9 after authorities received a threatening message that targeted staff and students at Orefield Middle School.
Authorities evacuated Lehigh Valley Charter High School For the Arts on Oct. 24 after it received an "anonymous threat."
A 17-year-old student at the charter school was charged as a juvenile with making terroristic threats and false reports to law enforcement, according to the Bethlehem Police Department.
Four Allentown-area schools — Dieruff and William Allen high schools, Trexler Middle School and Lehigh Career & Technical Institute — were shut down in November because of multiple anonymous tips of violent threats in Allentown School District.
LCTI was closed four consecutive days due to continued threats of violence against the school. Hundreds of students walked off the LCTI campus Nov. 14 to a nearby Schnecksville firehouse after the school received a threat.
Several minors were charged in November with making terroristic threats and false alarms to agencies of public safety, Allentown police said.