FARMINGTON, Ill -- It is not yet clear whether or not a Farmington High School student was aware of the Friday massacre in Newtown, Connecticut when he made threats against his own school.
"The student had made some reference to some action he may take when he came to school at lunch," according to Farmington Central Schools Superintendent John Apslund.
Apslund says the threat was reported to police Sunday by at least one student who overheard it.
The juvenile in custody, whose name is being withheld, had not been known to cause problems in the past.
He was arrested by police before setting foot on school grounds Monday morning. He was formally charged in juvenille court, Tuesday afternoon, with 3 felony counts of making threats to a school. His next court date has been set for December 21 at 10:30 am
"It appears that it was probably very potentially something that could have been construed as a joke,” Apslund explains. “Certainly we're not taking it that way.
The situation was handled so quickly, many parents did not know about it until after school Monday, sometimes hearing third-party rumors through social media.
"We have Facebook posts and we have texts and e-mails going on, and when we check into them its all third and fourth party,” says Farmington Police Chief Carl Powell. “We did talk to some of his friends to get some more information. Right now at this point in time, he was acting alone."
Rumors on Facebook led many to falsely believe the school was on lockdown or that students were in danger.
One parent kept her fifth grader home the day after the arrest was made.
Asplund says, "We intentionally don't put anything out until after the investigation is done, because we don't want to harm an investigation that is ongoing."
Superintendent Asplund did release a letter to parents Tuesday morning informing them that the student is in custody.
Police and school officials credit their crisis plan for the quick resolution to a dangerous threat, and they especially give credit the good sense of the students who reported the incident.