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RICEVILLE — A former Rice-ville student has been identified as the suspect behind an unspecified threat that canceled classes in Riceville Thursday, law enforcement states.

The name of the suspect has not been released, but the Howard County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release the investigation is ongoing.

Howard County Sheriff Mike Miner said Thursday he couldn’t release any more information about the threat or the suspect, but said he did not believe anyone else was involved. Criminal charges are pending, according to Miner.

The district was made aware of a “potential safety concern” about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, Riceville Superintendent Barb Schwamman said via phone Thursday morning.

The concern came when a group of students reported the potential threat — which the sheriff’s office said came from someone outside the school — to an administrator. The exact nature of the threat has not been released.

Schwamman said because of the timing of the report, she and law enforcement officials felt it was in the best interest of students and staff to not hold school or day care Thursday. The Riceville Community Day Care is also located within the school’s building.

“I applaud the students for their bravery for coming forward to make the school aware of the issue,” Schwamman said.

She added it is the district’s concern to always keep students and staff safe.

“We have been working with Howard County law enforcement all through the night,” Schwamman said.

Riceville Schools and the Howard County Sheriff’s Office released a statement after canceling classes Thursday.

“We are thankful to the students that reported this to school officials and it is important to discuss with your children and students that it is not appropriate, nor acceptable, to make threats, joke about, or make light of school shootings,” the release stated. “We also continue to encourage anyone to report any threats to adults.”

The FBI, U.S. Attorney General and Howard County Attorney are providing assistance in the investigation.

This threat comes just over a week after the Feb.14 mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Fourteen students and three staff members were killed with many others injured.

There have been multiple stories across the United States of potential shooting threats within the past week.

An 18-year-old was charged Wednesday with a felony after bringing a loaded gun to school in Griffith, Ind.

Trace T. Robertson told a school resource officer at Griffith High School that he had mistakenly brought the gun inside the school and asked if the officer could “cut him a break,” the Northwest Indiana Times reported.

There was a lock down Wednesday at Orono public schools in the Minneapolis metro area after social media posts threatened a school shooting. Several area schools in York, Penn., were closed Wednesday and Thursday for a series of threats.

Press-News Editor Jim Cross, Globe Gazette News Editor Ashley Miller and Globe Gazette reporter Courtney Fiorini contributed to this article.


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