Pontotoc County Sheriff's Office at Byng Junior High School

A Pontotoc County Sheriff’s vehicle sits outside Byng Junior High School Friday, where an innocent social media exchange triggered a law enforcement response amid heightened scrutiny of threats made against area schools.

A flirtatious exchange between two Byng students last December triggered a response from law enforcement Friday after the romantic dialogue was misinterpreted by a third party as a potential threat to Byng schools.

Pontotoc County Sheriff John Christian said the social media exchange occurred Dec. 12, 2017, but a Byng student came across the discussion Friday and reported it to authorities, triggering an investigation. In the exchange, a male student told a female student he appreciated her, “Hot, shoot-up-the-school looks,” Christian said.

“We will not take any legal action against him or her,” Christian said. But the Sheriff said the incident, coming on the heels of a similar incident in Roff last week, touched a nerve. The incident in Roff turned out to be a legitimate threat, according to the Sheriff.

“We got that call Thursday night,” Christian said. “We conducted an investigation into the threats and arrested a 13-year-old. He is now residing in a detention facility until court proceedings are completed.”

In the wake of the tragic Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and other similar incidents in recent years, the Sheriff said his office operates on a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to threats against area schools.

“We have got to get the word out to these parents and kids that this is not going to be tolerated in today’s world,” Christian said. “The Pontotoc County Sheriff’s Office will take immediate action to apprehend anyone making a threat or transmitting a threat against our schools.”

Contact Carl Lewis at (580) 310-7520, or by email at clewis@theadanews.com

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Carl Lewis is a general assignment reporter for The Ada News. He's an aspiring photographer, an unabashed fan of Apple products and an avid coffee swiller. Contact Carl at (580) 310-7520, or by email at clewis@theadanews.com.