The Garden City Police Department arrested a 14-year-old former student of Horace Good Middle School Sunday after the student made a comment on social media interpreted as a threat against the school, the third such threat in less than two weeks.
The GCPD arrested 14-year-old Nick Trung Hang of Garden City after he made a statement on his social media account meant “to scare students and staff” at HGMS, according to a GCPD press release. The GCPD received a report of the comment at 12:22 p.m. Sunday, immediately notified Garden City USD 457 and began an investigation with the help of district staff, according to the release.
Hang is being lodged at the Southwest Kansas Juvenile Detention Center on an allegation of criminal threat, according to the release.
A letter to parents from HGMS Principal Brad Springston was also posted on Facebook Sunday evening, stating that the GCPD investigation determined that the threat was in no way related to social media threats made against the middle school on April 17 and April 22.
On April 17, police were notified of a general violent threat made on social media against the school that included a picture of firearms. The next day, police requested that the Finney County Attorney’s Office file charges of aggravated criminal threat and criminal false communication against a 14-year-old male HGMS student identified as a suspect. Police searched the student’s house and found evidence related to the threat, but declined to describe what was found.
On April 22, another violent threat against the school planned for April 23 was made on a separate, anonymous social media platform. Police arrested HGMS student Mariela Galvez, 15, in connection to the post on an allegation of aggravated criminal threat. The GCPD said Galvez created the threat in an attempt to get out of school on April 23 and was not connected to the April 17 case.
Springston’s most recent letter stated that “the former HGMS student” who made Sunday’s threat is subject to a Level Four infraction with the district, which calls for an immediate 10-day out of school suspension and a potential 186-day expulsion equal to one school year. The unnamed 14-year-old student and Galvez received identical district punishments.
HGMS is safe to attend and school will continue with a regular schedule Monday, Springston said in the letter, and, as there was with the previous threats, there will be an increased police presence at the school, according to the GCPD release.
The letter also noted that HGMS staff reviewed “digital citizenship and the consequences of making poor choices online with all students” on Thursday. Springston said in the letter that staff encourages parents to monitor students’ social media accounts and that students should report any suspicious information to USD 457 staff and law enforcement.