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Syracuse Public Schools kept students in their classrooms for nearly two hours Wednesday morning after the FBI traced a threatening post on an online gaming site to a Syracuse IP address.

The Otoe County Sheriff’s Office notified school officials about the post at 8:30 a.m., and deputies responded to all buildings in the school district that serve students in Syracuse, Dunbar and Avoca.

At 9:30 a.m., all students went into a “no movement” designation, which means they remained in their classrooms but continued class as usual. The designation was lifted about 11 a.m.

The FBI and sheriff’s deputies identified a high school student as a suspect. He told them he’d posted the statement in an online gaming chat room as a joke.

Chief Otoe County Deputy Mike Holland said the student had posted an emoji of a gun with the words “to school tomorrow” during an online discussion among people from several different countries about things that happen in America.

The gaming site is based overseas, he said, and apparently someone had alerted the FBI to the post. Deputies had a possible first name, which helped them identify a suspect.

The student did not bring a weapon to school, and no staff or students were specifically targeted in the online comment. The student was ultimately released to his parents.

As a precaution, deputies remained on the school campuses for the remainder of the day Wednesday. Reports will be forwarded to the county attorney to determine if the incident warrants criminal charges.

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On Twitter @LJSreist.


Education reporter

Margaret Reist is a Lincoln native, the mom of three high school graduates now navigating college and an education junkie who covers students, teachers and policymakers inside and outside the K-12 classroom.

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