GREAT FALLS — We are learning more about a possible social media threat to students in Teton County. According to school officials in the county, someone is using SnapChat to get young girls to send them compromising pictures. Once the pictures are sent, the person says if more pictures are not sent, the ones that have already been sent will be publicized.
School officials say the Teton County Sheriff’s Office contacted each district last week to let them know about the situation. The Sheriff’s Office is investigating and has hosted assemblies to talk to students, and more are scheduled this week.
Some people are also working to host community meetings for parents to ask questions. "I just felt there was a sense of urgency that we needed to do something for our students. I'm aware this goes on across the nation. We've taken opportunities throughout the years to educate our students on what to watch for on social media, how to use it,” said Loren Dunk, Power Public Schools Superintendent.
The Sheriff's Office told MTN News on Monday afternoon that the suspect is posing as a young girl, and gets the young girls talking about "body issues" in order to convince them to send pictures.
There's no word yet on how many girls may have been contacted, and there's no ID on the suspect yet.
(JANUARY 23) Law enforcement and public school officials in Teton County are investigating a possible threat to students in the community.
The City of Choteau said in a social media post that the Teton County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an "unknown individual targeting young females ages 12 and up" via social media accounts.
They report that this person, who they say is likely not a Teton County resident, has "successfully targeted several young girls (junior high age) in our county and manipulated them to say and do things against their will," and they fear "that this sort of crime has spread to more children and we will work cooperatively to end this threat."
Authorities have not disclosed the nature of the threat or any other details as they continue investigating.
The Sheriff's Office has requested that the schools arrange for several assemblies to educate students and staff of this "very real threat the adults and children are facing." Assemblies for students were held and more are scheduled on Monday to address the situation.
Deputy Mark Grove said in the post: “My goal is to make our daughters aware of this threat and make them aware that there is a wolf in sheep’s clothing among them (online).” The law enforcement team will discuss with each group of students (both boys and girls) the dangers that are connected with social media applications like Snapchat, Facebook, and other social media applications that can be used inappropriately by sexual predators.
They also hope to identify other potential victims and let them know that they can speak up and they have a voice.
The post, signed by Superintendent Chuck Gameon and Principal Wendi Hammond, concluded: "If this happened to two here in Teton County, then there is a good chance there are many more. The hard truth is that this 'wolf' is preying on the fact our children don’t know these threats are among them."
Officials in Fairfield said that the Sheriff's Office requested a meeting with students in Fairfield on Thursday, January 21st, in reference to "inappropriate cell phone use," and wanted an opportunity to address students as an informative and preventative effort to help them avoid serious trouble.
We will update you if we get more information.