Two students accused of making social media threats to Eli Whitney Tech High School in Hamden are facing charges after the school was placed on lockdown two days in a row.
Connecticut State Police, who are investigating along with Hamden police, said Tuesday that both threats, which occurred Monday and Tuesday, were posted to Instagram, though it does not appear they are related.
The first threat, which prompted a lockdown Monday, referenced bullying, police said. A 14-year-old Eli Whitney student has been arrested and charged in that case. That student is charged with threatening, breach of peace and intimidation based on bigotry and/or bias.
A second threat was posted to a different Instagram account on Tuesday. State police said they have arrested another 14-year-old suspect in that case. That student is charged with threatening and breach of peace.
Both students will face disciplinary action by the school, including being barred from returning to campus for 10 days.
State police noted that while they believe these are two independent cases, currently there is a social media trend that encourages students to post these kinds of threats. Brian Foley, assistant to Connecticut's public safety commissioner, said they are investigating threats across the state and that he believes social media is leading to copycat incidents.
Eli Whitney Tech is one of several schools where social media threats have prompted lockdowns in the last few days including multiple in New Haven on Monday.
State police encouraged parents to monitor their children's social media use to curb these types of behaviors.
"The better prepared that you are...can definitely prevent a tragedy from happening."