In recent weeks North Texas school districts have faced threats on social media.
According to FOX 4 News, these threats have mentioned violence or riots on school campuses. After investigating these threats, school districts found that none of them were credible.
FOX 4 reported that most threats were for the same school, Lewisville ISD. After the Lewisville police investigated the social media threats, the District asked law enforcement officials to post updates for worried parents, attempting to quell their concerns.
Many parents still went to the school on December 10, to get children out of class early after another false threat.
Hebron High School in Carrollton also experienced threats, and several students were picked up early on Friday.
One Hebron High School parent told FOX 4, “Everyone was like sitting ducks waiting to get their kid. Especially in today’s society, common sense goes out the window.”
After launching their investigation, Lewisville police determined none of the threats found online were credible. They spent 48 hours looking into threats for several different school campuses.
Matt Martucci, with Lewisville PD, told FOX 4 one threat “included a picture that we had found as a file picture that other people have used to threaten other campuses in the past.”
One of the reported threats mentioned a school shooting that would happen at a specific time of day.
Another Hebron parent, Jeff Petty, said when he received an email about the incident, he called the school and had his son drive home.
“Then, from there, it was a matter of trying to figure out exactly what was going on,” Petty explained to FOX 4. “You can’t depend on it being a hoax,” he added.
According to Martucci, schools across the nation have been getting similar violence-related threats. Police departments across North Texas have noticed a rise in these types of threats since the Oxford, Michigan school shooting last week.
A letter from Keller ISD encouraged parents to “remind your student about the importance of not reposting threats.”
A false threat in Forney ISD on Friday, December 10, prompted students to walk out of school.
A spokesperson for the District told FOX 4, “schools across the area are dealing the fake post, and the post information is being changed as it is passed from person to person.”
Parents must warn their children that fake threats carry real consequences.
Texas Penal Code Section 42.06 specifically classifies the spreading of a false emergency as a Class A Misdemeanor. However, because these threats involve educational facilities, students who are found to have initiated these threats would face a state jail felony.
In Central Texas, school districts have had problems determining which threats are fake and which ones could be real. Students and parents of Hays Consolidated School District were worried on Monday, December 6, that there could be a possible threat to the school.
A screenshotted picture began circulating on Facebook where someone claimed they would bring a gun to school, KXAN reported.
The principal, David Pierce, said, “We did have parents who kept their kids home today. That’s their choice as a parent.”
The Texas School Safety Center has recommended that schools take all threats seriously and create a standardized approach. According to KXAN, the Safety Center is working on fine-tuning these types of investigations.