Utah school district accidentally shares ex-employee threat

National

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Police warned the top officials of a Utah school district about an ex-employee who had told his co-worker he wanted to “see what it feels like” to murder someone and attack “women or gays.”

The notice was meant to be kept private among school officials and security guards of the Davis School District in northern Utah. But earlier this week, students got hold of the notice and shared it over social media, text and printed out copies to hand out in the hallways, the Salt Lake Tribune reports .

Panic ensued. Students said they feared the man would come to the school and attack them.

“It wasn’t intended to go out in the way that it did,” said Elizabeth Sollis, spokeswoman for the Davis County Sheriff’s Office. “It was an accident. But it created a lot of fear.”

Such security alerts about possible school shooters or suspects are common practice, Sollis said.

Details are only made public if there’s” immediate concern” for the community’s safety.

In this case, investigators interviewed the former employee three weeks ago and determined he was not a high-level risk.The man was never charged, although the sheriff’s office has reported him to the FBI.

“People can say things all day long. It’s the First Amendment,” Sollis said. “But it’s a closed investigation.”

The school district fired the man after safety concerns arose, said Christopher Williams, the district spokeswoman, and reported him to the police.

“Unfortunately, this information wasn’t kept confidential. It should have been, and we apologize for that,” he said.

In a news release, the sheriff’s office said their agency is considering solutions to make sure future notices like this one aren’t shared with students and parents unless intended.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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