Police: 12-year-old to be charged in West York Area schools threat

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

A threat to "do harm" at the West York Area School District led investigators to a 12-year-old student who is being charged as a juvenile, according to West Manchester Township Police.

An 18-year-old student will be charged as an adult for allegedly spreading that threatening message, police said.

West York Area High School

According to a news release from West Manchester Township Acting Police Chief Matthew Emig, district officials on Thursday, Feb. 22, were alerted to a threat in the form of a Snapchat message.

The message threatened harm to West York Area students at the end of the school day Thursday, police said.

Township Detective Robert Davenport and Officer Timothy Fink, a computer forensics expert, investigated and gathered enough information by Friday morning to obtain and execute a search warrant at a West York home, police said.

"Several persons of interest were identified and detained, and multiple electronic devices were seized and evaluated prior to school opening on Friday," according to a police news release.

Police said a 12-year-old boy made the Snapchat threat.

He was interviewed and released to the custody of his parents and will be charged with one count of making terroristic threats, police said.

Second student: Leasia Conley, 18, of West York, "assumed criminal responsibility by further spreading the threatening message," according to police.

Conley will be criminally charged after investigators finish examining her cellphone, police said.

A phone number for Conley couldn't be found, and she didn't immediately return a Facebook message seeking comment.

Both are district students, according to police.

Police said they don't believe either had access to guns or prohibited offensive weapons, the release states.

Police and district officials "worked together tirelessly" to investigate every tip and lead into the threat, according to Emig.

"I'd like to express my gratitude to each member of the district's administration team for the cooperation that has allowed us to keep the students safe," he wrote in the news release.

West York Mayor Shawn Mauck, a Democrat running for state Senate, said a host of changes are needed “across the board” to address the “situation in our schools and the necessity for better coordination and specialized efforts in regards to law enforcement.”

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No open lunch: On Friday, the West York Area School District sent out an alert to parents and guardians that students' belongings will be searched when they arrive at school Monday, Feb. 26, as "strictly a precautionary measure as we continue to prioritize student safety."

The district will conduct random searches of students' belongings, according to the school district.

The district said it also has canceled its open-lunch policy at West York Area High School, again as a precautionary measure.

"All students are expected to purchase a lunch in the cafeteria or pack their own lunch," the district wrote in its online message.

"Students who leave the school for open lunch will receive disciplinary consequences," the district wrote and warned parents not to try to bring food to their children during the school day.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.