A 7th grade Cowden-Herrick student was arrested this week for sending a threat to another student via Instagram, the Shelby County Sheriff's Office said.

The social media threat was aimed at the recipient and the school as a whole, Undersheriff Rob McCall said. During a 14-hour investigation Monday, authorities acquired the 7th grader's IP address and home address. They arrested the 13-year-old male and later released him to his parents.

The threat was "found to not be credible but a prank," said a sheriff's office press release. The teenager was the second Cowden-Herrick student arrested for issuing a threat in a two-week span. On Feb. 26, a 16-year-old female was arrested after she left a warning letter in the girls' locker room.

"When a person regardless of age makes a threat to harm students or faculty at a school it is no laughing matter to the sheriff's office, the state's attorney or the chiefs of police of our community," the sheriff's office press release said. "Threatening violence at a school, personally or through social media, is a crime that will be punished. The havoc and fear created when someone threatens a school community is real, regardless of the intentions of the person who communicates the threat.

"All threats are taken seriously and investigating them diverts precious resources from the sheriff's office and local police. The law enforcement agencies in Shelby County stand united in making our schools safe. Those that make threats will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent."

The Shelby County Sheriff's Office was assisted by the Illinois State Terrorism and Intelligence Center and the East Central Illinois Drug Task Force in Monday's investigation at Cowden-Herrick's grade school and high school.

Stan Polanski can be reached at stan.polanski@shelbyvilledailyunion.com or 217-774-2161 ext. 1.

This Week's Circulars