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The reported gun threat at the Hillsdale Area Career Center on Oct. 31 was a false alarm, according to Hillsdale City Police Chief Scott Hephner. | Facebook

The reported gun threat at the Hillsdale Area Career Center on Oct. 31 was a false alarm, according to Hillsdale City Police Chief Scott Hephner.

On Oct. 31, a female student at the Career Center, which offers tech­nical skills classes to high school juniors and seniors, called the police after she saw a screenshot on Snapchat of one of her fellow stu­dents holding a gun. 

“It was not actually a gun threat,” Hephner said. “Someone took a legit­imate picture and added one line of text, three or four words, and shared it with somebody.”

Hillsdale Area Career Center Super­in­tendent Troy Reehl said the student who took the photo was in a criminal justice class, in which the day’s lesson was tied to learning about weapons. 

The officer in the class dis­played unloaded weapons, and one student took a photo of another student holding a gun, which was screen­shotted and reposted on social media. 

The student who reposted the photo “made a comment about it on social media,” which caused the female student’s concern, Reehl explained.

The police were at the school within 10 minutes, according to Hephner.

“They were at the school very quickly, they handled it very swiftly, and it was very well-exe­cuted by our law enforcement,” Reehl said. 

He added that the Career Center was pleased with the female student’s response to the photo, because it enabled them to work with law enforcement and address the sce­nario quickly, which would have been critical if the threat had been real. 

“If it was a real threat, knowing how quick law enforcement responded to that sit­u­ation was really reas­suring,” Reehl added.

The school went into lockdown briefly while the police responded to the threat. 

“We just had to confirm that every­thing was OK, that it was not a real issue, and we did,” Hephner said. “The school is dealing with the poor decision one student made. I can’t speak to that.”

He added that “it was more pre­cau­tionary than any­thing.”

Hillsdale Area Career Center Prin­cipal Jamie Mueller agreed.

“There was, at no time, any viable threat to stu­dents in the county or stu­dents at the HACC,” Mueller said in an email. “Action was taken imme­di­ately by people that received the social media post which allowed law enforcement and the school to act quickly to handle the sit­u­ation.”