Allegations of sexual assault at a New Hampshire high school appear to have originated from a Snapchat message, not an actual crime, police said Friday after conducting an investigation.
Nevertheless, hundreds of Pinkerton Academy students walked out of class Friday morning in protest over the allegations, whose discovery had been announced by the Derry school's headmaster Thursday.
Police said Friday that the school was notified about a Snapchat post regarding alleged sexual assaults involving students at Pinkerton Academy.
The post said that 12 female students had been sexually assaulted by a male student and that when reported, school staff failed to respond to the information.
A student said they shared the Snapchat post without knowing who authored it or having any information about the assaults, police said. The post circulated widely among students.
"It did create a lot of panic, perhaps for parents, and a disruption for the school," Derry Capt. Vern Thomas said.
In response to the investigation, students walked out of class at about 8 a.m. Friday.
"Kids came out and wanted to voice their concerns about this type of activity, believing that it occurred," Thomas said.
Police investigators spoke with dozens of students who shared the post and found no evidence of a sexual assault, according to police.
"We haven't found anything and this is probably an unfounded situation," said Thomas. "We did an extensive investigation, we talked to everyone who commented and everyone who had opinion about it."
Thomas said one of the worst parts about the situation is that while hundreds of people commented and shared the information on social media, no one called police.
"If you saw that, your child showed you that, or you came across it, you'd be concerned," he said. "What needs to happen is you don't comment on social media, you call us, we’re the ones that can do something about it."
Police are urging students who hear or read about criminal activity online to tell their parents or a school resource officer before reposting it on social media.