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Deputies find no threat at Mountain View HS

Posted at 10:24 AM, Jan 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-21 20:21:10-05

Pima County Sheriff's deputies investigated what seemed like a threat made using social media against Mountain View High School- but then found out it was only a birthday wish.

According to department spokesman Ryan Inglett, night detectives worked the case at the school, at 3901 W. Linda Vista Blvd., after reports of a presumably threatening social media message came in Wednesday.

Inglett said a social media post advised students to "Be ready for 1/21/16," and included a smiley face. School officials and authorities initially took the post as a threat, but determined it was in reference to a birthday instead.

The message was written on a wall and someone other than the one who wrote it took a picture and posted it to social media.

Inglett said deputies were on extra patrols at the school Thursday.

Marana Unified School District spokeswoman Tamara Crawley said the image was retweeted and reposted with personalized messages that interpreted the post as a threat. Deputies confirmed what Crawley said.

Here's the letter Mountain View principal Todd Garelick sent to parents Wednesday, when the post was considered a threat:

"Dear MVHS Parent/Guardian,

"Because we value the importance of communicating with our parents, I am writing you regarding information which is currently circulating on various social media channels referencing our school.  A photo depicting the words "Be ready for 1/21/16" with a smile face image has been posted on Instagram and other social media. This photo has been re-tweeted and re-posted with various statements added. Individual interpretations of this photo have resulted in statements being made on social media that a shooting will occur tomorrow at Mountain View.
"As a result of these statements having been written, school administration contacted the Pima County Sheriff's Department. While there is no reason to believe there is a valid threat against our school, the Sheriff's Department and Marana district takes all information of this nature seriously and we will continue to work together in this investigation.
"Please know that Mountain View High School will be open tomorrow and will follow our regular schedule. There will however be additional law enforcement presence on campus as part of their investigation.
"I want to take this opportunity to encourage parents to continue to assist us by discussing with their child the seriousness of makingstatements of a threatening/dangerous nature at any time includingon social media sites. By working in partnership, students, staff, parents and police can continue to provide safe and secure schools for everyone.
"Thank you for your continued support."