School Shooting Threat Account Created Days Before Publication of HHS Student’s New York Times Op-Ed
The Instagram account that made a shooting threat against Hanover High School on Monday night was created on Thursday, March 15th, 2018, according to two anonymous sources.
The findings cast doubt on the existence of a relation between the creation of the threats and the publication of an opinion piece in The New York Times titled “Why I Didn’t Join My School’s Walkout” by Hanover High junior Dakota Hanchett. In the piece, Hanchett talks about his perspective on Hanover High’s March 9th walkout (in which students called for stricter gun laws) and how he feels about the way firearms are discussed at the school. A March 21st Valley News article by Jordan Cuddemi that was cited in a previous Broadside article stated that the Hanover Police were looking into whether the publication of Hanchett’s article had caused the suspect accused of creating the threatening Instagram account to act as she did in some form of response to his writings. Hanchett’s piece was published on Monday, March 19th, so the Instagram account in question had already been in existence for four days before Hanchett’s article was released.
The Broadside learned of this after two sources who asked to be left anonymous for reasons of personal privacy came forward with evidence obtained online showing that the Instagram account (which used the handle “hanoverhighshooting” and utilized a stock image from 2013 showing a person’s midsection surrounded by several guns) had been created on March 15th. While the evidence was substantial, the sources ask that readers take these findings with a sense of caution until the police and related authorities release official statements on the topic.
It remains to be seen if the suspect, a 14-year-old girl from the city of Brantford in the Canadian province of Ontario, has any actual ties to Hanover High School or its students or staff. Currently, the available evidence does not reveal any such link. There are questions as to whether the threats made by the Instagram account were referring to New Hampshire’s Hanover High School specifically or to another high school with a similar name instead. However, the account did follow a number of Hanover High School students’ accounts before it disappeared at some point on Wednesday.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the Brantford Police Service (BPS) stated, “The BPS Major Crime Unit and BPS Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) Unit continued the investigation and obtained judicial authorization to search a Brantford residence. At approximately 8:45 p.m. a 14 year old Brantford female was arrested without incident at the home. Electronic devices were seized at the home and will be forensically examined by the BPS ICE Unit.”
The release also stated, “As a result of the investigation [a] 14 year old Brantford female is charged with Uttering Threats to Cause Bodily Harm/Death under the Criminal Code. The accused was held for a bail hearing.” Due to the girl being a minor, authorities are prohibited by law from revealing further details about the suspect’s identity.
Although the investigation is ongoing, students have returned to campus and Hanover High School has returned to its normal schedule. In a Wednesday morning e-mail to the student body, HHS Principal Justin Campbell stated, “I know it’s been a difficult couple of days for our community but I feel very lucky to work at this incredible school with all of you.”