Two students are facing serious charges following the discovery of threatening notes at Northern Middle School on Thursday.

Both a 15-year-old male and a 14-year-old female student at the junior high school were charged with eight counts of terroristic threatening each by the Somerset Police Department.

It would appear, however, that the young suspects had less than hostile intentions. Somerset Police Department Detective Shannon Smith said the students’ motives were discovered to have been “to get out of school” and “to get school cancelled.”

Smith said his agency received a call about a “hit list” note being found by a student in the hallway on Wednesday afternoon. The document containing threatening statements was turned in to the principal, and the parents of the eight students listed on the letter were notified. A teacher was also mentioned on the list.

“Unfortunately, around this time of year we experience these types of situations intended to intentionally cause disruptions,” said Sonya Wilds, director of pupil personnel with the Pulaski County School System, “but because student safety is our foremost priority, we certainly don’t make any assumptions and always pursue any report to the fullest.”

Investigations by the school’s resource officers and the administration began soon after the letter was reported and continued throughout Thursday, as multiple students and parents were interviewed.

The 15-year-old male subject was taken into custody at 11:17 a.m.

“As it turned out, the suspect’s name as well as some of his friends’ names were on the list,” said Smith, noting that it made it look like the suspect himself was being targeted.

Following the arrest, another “hit list” was found Thursday afternoon in one of the school’s bathrooms — a copycat letter, according to Smith, for which the 14-year-old female was arrested at 1:30 p.m., after another investigation.

Both suspects were taken to the juvenile detention center.

“We treat these things as a threat and take the proper precautions and investigate them as if the person means what is in the letter,” said Smith

“We plan to prosecute as if it had been an actual hit list because of seriousness of it,” he added. “It’s not something taken lightly.”

A note written and signed by Principal Angela Murphy and Assistant Principal Beth Hargis was sent home with students yesterday afternoon so all parents would be informed about the incidents. The letter informed families that there had been several notes turned in throughout the course of the day that were threatening in nature.

“The Somerset Police Department assigned a detective to the case and has conducted a thorough investigation. As a result of this investigation, several students have been criminally charged,” read the note. “The students, staff and police officers are handling this situation with remarkable professionalism and speed. Please know that we take every threat seriously and will prosecute to the fullest extent. As always, our first concern is to ensure the safety of our students. We want to keep you informed and thank you for your assistance.”

Wilds also commended the work of the Somerset Police Department and said it was because of them that things were resolved so quickly.

Smith said the investigation into the incidents is continuing and additional arrests remain a possibility.

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