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Woman arrested after posting false alarm about shooting at Arkansas junior high school, police say

by Caitlan Butler / El Dorado News-Times | August 23, 2019 at 3:01 p.m.
FILE — This 2015 file photo shows public school buses. (AP Photo/File)

An El Dorado woman was arrested Friday morning after she reportedly posted a false alarm on social media warning of a school shooting.

Parents picked up children by the dozens after a post circulated on social media about a school shooting at Barton Junior High School.

“Right when school was starting, somebody had posted a message saying ‘They shooting at Barton.’ That’s all that was said,” said El Dorado Police Lt. Chris Lutman. “People screen-shotted it and of course they shared it and it caused a big panic.”

Megan Hall has voluntarily visited the El Dorado Police Department for an interview about the post. She was arrested on charges of communicating a false alarm, a Class D felony. Hall does not have children at Barton.

Lutman said Hall heard vague information from friends about an alleged potential incident at the school.

“She just chose to put that on there and it caused a huge disruption,” Lutman said. “These kind of activities will not be tolerated. Based on her post, and the kind of alarm it caused at the school, that’s why it’s a Class D felony.”

Hall could face up to six years in prison and as much as a $10,000 fine if convicted. Lutman said police hope to see the crime prosecuted to its fullest extent.

El Dorado School District Superintendent Jim Tucker said class continued normally at Barton throughout the morning; most students were not aware of the post, he said.

He said parents should verify any information they see on social media about the school district through official school channels, either on the district’s social media pages or website or by calling the administration building or their child’s school.

“I appreciate them calling, because whenever they call, we can let them know that everything is okay,” Tucker said. “When they just start assuming and posting on social media, it increases the frustration and the panic.”

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