WEST DES MOINES – Five Iowa students have been arrested after propagating threats via social media, causing chaos and fear.
On Friday December 10th, 2021 and continuing over the intervening days, the West Des Moines Police Department in collaboration with the West Des Moines school district, has been investigating threats that have been made via social media and orally by Stilwell school students. These threats have been regarding possible violence at the school perpetrated by a student or students. As a consequence of these investigations, two Stilwell students will be charged with the Terrorism (a class “D” felony) and 3 students with Harassment 1st Degree (an aggravated misdemeanor). Although these threats were not carried out, the seriousness of the crimes and the disruption of the school and the learning environment were factors taken into account when criminal charges were filed. On Friday specifically, these social media threats quickly caused parents to be concerned which led to an overwhelming amount of phone calls made to the school and parents arriving at the school to remove their children. Accordingly, the School Resource Officer from the West Des Moines Police Department worked directly with staff at Stilwell to investigate these threats as quickly as possible in order to maintain order and the safety of the students and staff.
All of the students that were charged are juveniles and therefore their names will not be released. Each of the students will be referred to the Polk County Attorney’s Office for prosecution via Polk County Juvenile Court.