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Parma police arrest 16-year-old for making shooting threat against high school

The teen will potentially face criminal charges of inducing panic, a felony of the second degree.

PARMA, Ohio — Editor's Note: The above story features reporting on Gov. Mike DeWine's plan to make Ohio schools safer after the recent shooting at a Texas elementary school.

Parma Senior High School canceled classes on Thursday after receiving a threat of a school shooting. Several hours later, police announced that they have arrested a 16-year-old Cleveland boy for his role in making the threat.

Police say the teen, who does not attend Parma High School, sent an Instagram message to a student at the high school warning that there was going to be a shooting. 

According to a post from the Parma City School District on Facebook, officials learned about the threat at approximately 6:45 a.m. on Thursday. A student emailed administrators at Parma Senior High School, explaining that he was aware that an individual planned to come to the school for "violent reasons."

Out of an abundance of caution, district leaders canceled classes at Parma Senior High School. PCSD officials explained in the post why other schools in the district were not closed as well. "Our reason is clear: we understood the threat to be specific to Parma Senior High School. We did not want to disrupt the routine and learning of others by expanding the scope of our reaction beyond the subject of the threat," the post read. "We will continue to place our students’ safety at the top of our priority list and appreciate your support and collaboration in this endeavor."

PCSD leaders worked with the Parma Police Department to determine that the threat had no credibility. The "all clear" was given by law enforcement, meaning afternoon activities would occur as scheduled. 

Parma police identified the 16-year-old juvenile male as the person who sent the message and were able to locate him at his residence in Cleveland. He later told officers that he sent the message as a joke because he thought it would be funny. The teen was taken into custody and will potentially face criminal charges of inducing panic, a felony of the second degree.

"The Parma Police Department takes each and every threat made against our schools as a grave threat to public safety, and will utilize every department resource to fully investigate these threats, and to recommend criminal charges against perpetrators who use these online platforms to spread fear and panic in our schools," the department said in a release after the arrest.

Parma City Schools have announced its Friday schedule for exams that were missed due to Thursday's threat. 

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