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UPDATE: Dawson County Sheriff’s Office warns against “passing judgment” after announcing investigation of alleged social media threat toward DCHS students
DCSO building

The Dawson County Sheriff’s Office is cautioning people against rushing to judge “any named individual” following Wednesday’s announcement of an investigation into an alleged threat on social media toward students at Dawson County High School.

This story continues below.

“We caution our community against passing judgment and potentially committing slander against any named individual, simply based upon a social media post,” DCSO said in a Thursday update. “A posting alone from an anonymous website, as egregious as it may appear, is not a basis for an arrest. These investigations must be thorough and exhaustive.”

Dawson County Sheriff Jeff Johnson told DCN in a Thursday email that the posting, with actual names, was unfortunately shared “quite a bit.” 

DCSO received information about the threat from an out-of-state source. The threat was posted to a social media site that’s been promoted as a way to communicate with others anonymously, the agency previously stated. 

Updated information about the threat has been shared with DCJHS and DCHS parents and guardians, according to a Dawson County Schools Facebook post on Thursday. 

“The school district takes all threats seriously and works with the sheriff's department to ensure that they are thoroughly investigated and that accurate information is shared,” the school system’s post stated. 

“It is important to note that this exact threat (excluding the specific names) has been used to target at least one other school in metro Atlanta as well as a high school in Brooklyn, NY on June 5, 2022,” DCSO’s Thursday post stated. “Thus far, this investigation has not revealed any validity as to our high school; however, the investigation continues.”

Students named in the post, their parents and other online sources are being notified and interviewed as part of the agency’s investigation. 

The sheriff’s office worked with local school officials to identify listed students, including the reported suspect.

“In addition, the school district will continue prioritizing safety on all campuses. Due to the ongoing investigation, the district will ensure enhanced safety protocols and increased security presence,” the school district’s post added. “Our students' and employees' safety and security remain top priorities in Dawson County Schools.”

In its update, DCSO also encouraged parents to monitor their children’s online activities and protect them from sharing personal information. 

“It is critical that we take the steps to protect our children, both personally and online,” DCSO’s post stated. 

DCN will update this story when more information becomes available.