Canadian Juvenile Arrested In Relation To Social Media Threats Against Hanover High
SAU #70 Superintendent Jay Badams said early Wednesday morning that a suspect believed to be behind the social media threats made against Hanover High School on Monday night has been arrested by authorities. A police report released later in the morning stated that it was a 14-year-old juvenile from Canada.
The Hanover Police Department stated on Wednesday morning said that Canadian authorities had taken the teenager into custody in relation to the account on the social media platform Instagram that used the handle “hanoverhighshooting” and hinted at threats of a possible school shooting at Hanover High. In the police report, Hanover police chief Charles B. Dennis stated, ” “With assistance from Lebanon Police Sgt. Richard Norris, the threat was tracked to a residence in Canada. In cooperation with Canadian law enforcement a search of that residence was conducted and electronic devices were seized.”
The police later made another press release at 3:45pm that said the suspect was a 14-year-old girl who resided in the city of Brantford in the the province of Ontario. The same release mentioned that the Brantford Police Service took the girl into custody and that “they are pursuing charges in their jurisdiction.” The investigation is on-going.
According to a Valley News article by Jordan Cuddemi, the police are currently looking into whether the publication of an op-ed in The New York Times on Monday by HHS junior Dakota Hanchett titled “Why I Didn’t Join My School’s Walkout” had anything to do with the threats made against the high school. Hanchett’s piece consisted of him explaining why he did not participate in the walkout held at the school on March 9th in protest of gun policy after the February 14th school shooting in Parkland, FL, and the nature of the discussion about guns at school. Hanover High School was mentioned by name in The New York Times’ description. There has been speculation about whether the suspect was reacting to the content of the opinion piece when the threats were made.
As of now, there is no known connection between the arrested suspect and Hanover High School or its students. The Instagram account that raised fears about the shooting threat did not even name the Hanover High School in New Hampshire explicitly, although it did follow the accounts of some students attending the school.
Given the circumstances, it is unlikely that the sketchbook containing graphic images found on Monday in the school’s “Lost & Found” that had initially been reported is related to the case.
The threats prompted some fears at school on Tuesday, leading many students to either not come to school or leave early. A full report from Tuesday can be found here.
In an e-mail sent out district-wide at 6:56am on Wednesday, Badams stated, “I am relieved to let you know that the Hanover Police Department has informed us that authorities have arrested the individual they believe was responsible for yesterday’s threat against Hanover High School.”
Principal Justin Campbell followed up with a school-wide e-mail at 7:34am in which he confirmed Badams’ statements, adding that the arrest “happened well outside our area.” He also stated, “I want you all to know that after speaking with the Chief this morning I feel confident that yesterday’s situation has been resolved. I look forward to a return to normalcy, to reviewing our security protocols in light of this incident.” Campbell closed his message by emphasizing that the school’s Counseling staff was available to talk with any students in need of support.
This article was updated at 9:26am on Wednesday after the police report came out and again at 12:20pm and 4:40pm. An initial report was posted at 8:16am.
Editor’s note: A few small changes were made to the paragraph concerning an HHS junior’s New York Times op-ed for the sake of clarity.