Branson police chief Jeff Matthews spoke to the media today regarding the second threat in as many weeks against a school in the Branson school district.
Below is the chief’s statement:
December 10th at 3:52pm, the Branson Police Department received a report of a threat made via social media (Instagram), referencing violence at the Branson Junior High School.
The Branson Police Department immediately launched an investigation in coordination with the Taney County Juvenile Office and the Branson School District. The investigation integrated elements from all three agencies and investigators worked through the evening and well into today.
Through the course of the investigation, a Branson Junior High student was identified. The student was interviewed in the presence of a parent, the Juvenile Officer, School District Administration, and Branson Police Detectives.
The juvenile acted alone and had no plan or means to carry out the threat.
The student was released to the Taney County Juvenile Office pending charges.
The Taney County Juvenile Office will ensure the juvenile’s best interest as well as the community’s. The Juvenile Office will provide access to all appropriate agencies to assist the juvenile and family.
The Branson Police Department and the Branson School District want the community and our students to know that we take the safety of everyone in our schools extremely serious.
Any communications, whether written or verbal, that cause others to be in fear, and or threaten the safety of anyone involved in a school activity, will be immediately investigated.
Both the Police Department and the School District understand the pressures of school can be difficult for our students. We need to stress there are multiple resources throughout the community that remain available to assist any students that may need help or someone to talk with.
Branson Police School Resource Officers and the School Counselors are always available and regularly make time to speak with our students.
If I could address another challenge regarding these investigations. Social media often presents challenges to effectively investigate these incidents and maintain a fact based community message. I ask all to remember our officers and detectives work hard to maintain the integrity of all investigations. At times, public social media comments insert details not relevant and possibly damaging to the investigation.
I caution us all to remain cognizant that police, school administrators, and or regional partners are working behind the scenes and are often limited on the amount of information we can release.
In the end, the Branson Police Department is committed to maintaining a transparent posture in all matters.
If you receive or see a threat on social media, contact your local police department and provide as much information as possible.