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LAPORTE — The LaPorte Police Department is investigating a social media thread in which community members feared a threat was made to initiate a school shooting in a LaPorte Community School Corp. elementary.

LaPorte police Capt. Bill Degnegaard said Tuesday his department has found no evidence a threat was made on Facebook against Handley Elementary School.

On Monday, Degnegaard told The Times a man with no relationship to Handley Elementary had commented to family members more than a month ago about "shooting up the school," and that these Facebook comments had recently resurfaced.

However, after contacting the man's family, police have determined the man does not have access to any guns mentioned on social media, Degnegaard said.

Additional officers have been placed in the area of the school, the police captain said.

"We have been able to determine that the original threat is from over a month ago and (it) does not appear that anyone is actively trying to carry out this threat nor has the means to do so," Degnegaard said in a Monday news release. "Please be assured that the department is looking into the claims and will notify the public if we have reason to believe that anyone is in danger."

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LaPorte Community School Corp. Superintendent Mark Francesconi said district administrators first became aware of the Facebook post Monday night after someone in the comments section following an extended conversation of the treat jumped in and suggested contacting police.

Francesconi said administrators contacted Handley parents Monday night informing them of the Facebook thread and resulting police investigation. Attendance at Handley Elementary was down 50% on Monday, Francesconi said.

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The superintendent said school officials will continue to monitor the situation and work with local police this school year given no specific time, date or place was made in connection with the threat. Francesconi commended Facebook users who followed the conversation and brought their concerns to authorities.

He said school officials can be contacted about future concerns using the district's safety tip hotline at 219-324-1380. 

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Education Reporter

Carley Lanich covers education in Lake County and throughout the Region. She comes to Northwest Indiana from Indianapolis and is an IU-Bloomington grad.