Two teenagers have been charged after school officials said a prop gun was brought to Platt High School in Meriden and prompted a lockdown on Tuesday.
School officials said a student told a staff member about a video on social media with what appeared to be a student with a gun. Officers were then called to the school around 8:20 a.m.
According to school officials, a video believed to have been filmed in school Tuesday morning was posted on social media showing a student with what was believed to be a gun. Authorities said the video was posted on Snapchat and police believe it has since been taken down.
The school was immediately placed into lockdown and the police department formed a perimeter and secured the school.
Officers said they worked with school administrators and staff to find two suspects through internal video, school staff and other means. During this, officials said they learned the two teens they were looking for were inside of the school, but had not reported to either of their classes.
A methodical search of the building was done and the two teens were found in the auditorium with another group of students, school officials said.
Authorities said a 16-year-old male and a 15-year-old male were taken into custody and are facing breach of peace charges. They will both be going to juvenile court.
The two teens who were arrested have been cooperative with the investigation, police said.
In the auditorium, investigators said they found a prop gun and it was reported to be the weapon that was seen in the video. A prop gun is described by investigators as a fake gun that is used in a show or in theater and has no ability to fire ammunition.
Any of the students who were in the auditorium will face internal consequences, according to the school. Those consequences could be suspension and consideration for expulsion, they added.
No injuries were reported.
The investigation is ongoing.
There will be an increased police presence at the school for the rest of the day on Tuesday, though police said they do not have any concerns.
The Role of Social Media In Threats & Lockdowns
While social media was at the center of the Meriden incident, experts believe there are pros and cons to these platforms.
“Social media allows people to share information with authorities, share images and whatnot in real-time,” said Rich Hanley who is an associate professor of journalism at Quinnipiac University. “Oftentimes, it works against people because incidents or images may be misinterpreted.”
Hanley also mentions that the Platt School incident is an example of the perceptions people may have after seeing what’s shared on the platforms.
“Social media doesn’t give us time, it’s all about impulses and it’s all about reaction,” said Hanley. “One of the things we’re seeing is it reaches a number of people and they can share it with their friends.