Classes resume at Thayer Central after threat from former student

Thayer Central
Thayer Central(KSNB)
Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 4:24 PM CST
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HEBRON, Neb. (KSNB) - Students and staff returned to Thayer Central Community Schools in Hebron on Thursday.

This came after the Thayer County Sheriff’s Office and Nebraska State Patrol identified the person behind a social media threat, suggesting a possible school shooting.

Thayer Central Elementary Principal Eric Hoops said a couple of students saw the post on Instagram Friday afternoon and notified a teacher.

“Those students did the absolute right thing and they brought that post to an adult’s attention,” Hoops said. He said the teacher then took it to administration where they contacted the Thayer County Sheriff’s Office, who then asked for help from the Nebraska State Patrol.

Thayer County Sheriff David Lee said first and foremost was the safety and security of students and staff at the school. Lee said they reached out to the Nebraska State Patrol immediately.

“They have tremendous resources,” he said. It’s something that smaller communities, like themselves, don’t have access to.

They were working to try to find the source of the threat.

Law enforcement were able to trace it back to a former student from the last couple of years who now resides in New Mexico.

Sheriff Lee said the investigation is continuing as they want to make sure it’s just one person involved and not others.

The sheriff added that they will attempt to get an arrest warrant from the Thayer County Attorney’s Office, but he doesn’t believe it will happen until sometime next week. He said they are waiting for results on other search warrants.

The school shut down for three days as the investigation was going on.

Principal Hoops said they had daily conversations with law enforcement keeping them updated on the progress.

“We would have a phone call in the morning and we would follow that up with a phone conversation every afternoon until we reached a resolution,” Hoops said. “They did a great job of answering questions and addressing concerns. Again, hats off to those two groups as they worked with us during this process.”

Hoops added that they had an emergency operations plan that was followed and what was used to guide them through this situation.

He added that the number one thing for them was to keep everyone safe, so he said when they were able to do that, they continued with some extracurricular activities, but some they couldn’t.

One thing Hoops said he will take away from this situation is communication, something he said is key.

“Of course, we are going to reflect on the process we used and communication being one of those areas we could improve on through the process,” he said. He said anytime you go through something like this, you need to reflect and learn.

The staff returned to school on Wednesday afternoon where they were able to get an update on what all had happened since Friday.

He said it will take time to process this for some it may be today, tomorrow or next week.

“Honestly, it gets pretty personal because I have two of my own kids that come to this building,” he said. Adding that getting it addressed and getting law enforcement involved as soon as possible was crucial so they could get to the resolution of returning to school.

He did add that the administration had a plan if the school had to be shut down for more days.

“There was a plan put down on paper of how to educate students alternatively if they had to keep closed,” Hoops said.

Counselors and additional law enforcement will be around in the coming days as the school gets back into the swing of things.