A "Columbine-like" threat sent by text message spread like wildfire through the Granger High School community, prompting a heavy police response and a noticeable absence of students.

West Valley City police were notified late Thursday night of the text message being spread by students' cell phones.

"Several students received a message from a friend saying there was going to be a problem in the school lunchroom. It wasn't threatening problems, it said there possibly could be problems," West Valley City Police Capt. T. McLachlan said Friday.

Granite School District spokesman Randy Ripplinger said it began when a couple of boys were talking, and one said there's going to be some kind of "Columbine-like" event at Granger High. The proclamation found its way to a text message and ended up being passed around student-to-student.

Granger High principal Art Cox said two students wrote the text message.

"I don't believe either kid meant it to be malicious," he said, adding that neither had weapons on them, nor in their homes. "I think they simply started a rumor that went on through their text, and when it went out (took on) a life of its own."

Students who received the text on Thursday night notified school officials.

"They did exactly the right thing," Ripplinger said. "It's because they did what they did that the rest of the system was able to work and the perpetrators were identified so quickly by police."

Police said there is no basis to the threat, but additional officers were at the school to prevent anything "should something occur," McLachlan said. "We'd like the parents to know their children are safe, and there is no basis to the threat."

McLachlan said there was a noticeable absence of students at Granger High because of the threat. West Valley police said they did not plan to pursue criminal charges against anyone in connection with the alleged threat.

The students involved were immediately suspended under the federal Safe Schools law, and district officials will determine for how long, Cox said.

"Both kids were not kids I could say were problem students," he said. "They would not fit the mold of a loner who's picked on, or not part of the building. They would fit the other mold: They have a lot of friends and they're highly visible in the building. Regular kids in high school."

Cox urges parents to talk with their kids about the dangers of text-messaging threats.

"Schools will take it very seriously and will have severe consequences for those kids," he said. "It's not a game."


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