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Sparta chief says school threats over Snapchat led to quick arrest of 14-year-old

Brad Williams

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Sparta schools went on lockdown Monday after authorities received information about a student making threats with weapons on Snapchat.

“There was a Snapchat posted by a freshman at the high school,” Sparta Police Chief David Kuderer said, “showing weapons and making threats about, ‘Gonna be a good day at school Monday,’ with the weapons.”

Kuderer was also concerned with rumors spreading on social media.

“There were some false things that were put out on social media, because nobody was hurt, there were no shots fired and no weapons were found at the time,” he said.

No word on if police recovered weapons later on.

A 14-year-old student from Sparta was arrested and could face criminal charges for allegedly making the threats.

Schools were on lockdown for about an hour beginning around 7:30 a.m.

Kuderer added that the police and the Sparta School District have been working together on emergency training for the past year.

Sparta released this statement after the lockdown:

“The Sparta Area School District was in a classroom hold for approximately 1.5 hours this morning while school officials and law enforcement searched for a student who made direct threats to the school, including images of weapons, over social media. The student was apprehended by law enforcement in the school.

Due to the nature of the threats and the fact that the whereabouts of the individual were unknown, the district and law enforcement cooperatively made the decision to implement a classroom hold in all buildings in the district.

Incidents like the one that occurred this morning are alarming. Fortunately, the district and local first responders have been working together diligently to prepare for just such an incident. Responses were appropriate, cooperation was high, and the individual in question was located and removed without harm or injury. No shots were fired and no one was injured.

Thank you for your patience as we addressed this situation and for your understanding as we worked to keep all of our students and staff safe. ”

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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