OXFORD, Ohio -- A 15-year-old faces criminal charges after a school resource officer received word Thursday that the student was planning to bring a gun to Talawanda High School.
The Butler County Sheriff's Office says the officer learned that the male student was planning to bring a handgun and a rifle to the Oxford, Ohio school on Friday. The threat indicated the boy planned to conceal the weapons under a trench coat.
Sheriff Richard Jones says officers “immediately located” and questioned the suspect. Jones said investigators believe the boy made the threat after playing a “truth or dare”-style game.
"It was part of a game, but as you know in this day and age, games or joking about terrorist threats have to be dealt with and yes, they're certainly taken seriously by school officials and by the local authorities," said Holli Morrish, Talawanda's communications director.
Detectives didn't find any weapons during a search of the teen's home. Jones said they conducted the search as a "precaution."
“The safety and security of our schools is our utmost concern," the sheriff said. "Any threat or rumor will be taken seriously and those making the threats will face prosecution."
Morrish said after talking with the school administration, investigators "don't feel like the student intended to carry out threat."
The teen faces a charge of juvenile delinquency by reason of making terroristic threats. He is in his parents' custody pending a court hearing.
Police will not release the name of the suspect due to his age.
The happenings in Butler County are similar to those that unfolded three days earlier in Warren County.
In that situation, an unidentified 15-year-old girl allegedly told five of her classmates at Franklin High School that she wanted to conduct a mass shooting, and "end it with suicide by cop."
The police chief in Franklin, Ohio, Russ Whitman, said his department doesn't believe there was a threat to any students in that situation. And the girl's attorney believes it may be a case of "saying something at an inopportune time."
But that doesn't make situations like those in Oxford and Franklin any less serious.
"Anytime schools and safety of your children's is involved it's not a joking matter," said Butler County Sheriff's Lt. Lance Bunnell.
"Do not use social media be careful what you say, be careful what your jokes are. Anything can be misconstrued in this day and age, everything will be taken seriously," he continued. "If you make a joke or a threat that's inappropriate we will come knocking. "
Officials in both situation credit students with coming forward with information and administrators at both schools for handling their respective situations appropriately.