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TUESDAY, MAY 1, 2007
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4 youths held after Dothan threats

DOTHAN (AP) — Security was increased at Northview High School on Monday and some parents checked their children out of classes following the weekend arrests of four students accused of making terrorist threats on a social networking Web site.

Houston County Sheriff Andy Hughes said officials began investigating the threats Friday after school officials were contacted by a parent whose child read the postings on a MySpace blog.

"Some of the language was very extreme and very to the point, very violent," Hughes said Monday.

"We consider all threats to be credible and we investigate all threats as such. Our policy is intervention, so no matter if they planned to do it or not, we intervened."

The students, who are all under the age of 18, will remain at the Southeast Alabama Diversion Center for juveniles unless a judge rules otherwise in their detention hearings scheduled for Tuesday.

Hughes said the threats involved both shooting and bombing the school, but no dates were specified.

He said the homes of all four boys were searched and while firearms were found in some of the homes, they were all stored properly in gun safes.

Authorities said it was possible that the students had been just "mouthing off," but any threat had to be taken seriously in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings and other tragic events, The Dothan Eagle reported on its Web site.

"While this may have been boys being boys ten years ago, everyone knows things like this are off limits these days," Northview principal Ron Snell said.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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