Several local schools were threatened in the days following the February 14 massacre at a Parkland, Florida school. These schools include Athens, Tatum, Carthage and Troup.
“We have definitely seen an increase in [school shooting] threats,” Rachael Freeman, the Texas Association of School Resource Officers secretary, said. “We have to investigate each threat as if it is a credible threat.”
Troup High School students were dismissed early on February 27 after Superintendent Stuart Bird was made aware of a threatening video on Snapchat.
“We [Troup] are all on heightened alert, but I’d rather overreact and keep our kids safe,” Bird said. “I’m hoping we can find out who this was and discover it was just a hoax.”
Three Carthage Junior High School students were arrested on February 20 after making threats against the school.
“We don’t know if they [students] were serious or not,” Carthage ISD superintendent Glenn Hambrick said. “However, we have to take each and every threat seriously for the safety of our students. Students need to know that there are serious consequences for this sort of thing.”
A Tatum student was detained on February 27 after the school received an anonymous tip about a threat.
“Most [students who threaten] are just suicidal,” Leon County, Florida deputy T.S. said. “ It’s suicide by cop with a wish for control. It’s not so much copycat as ‘I’ll show you.’”
Athens ISD has declared a social media threat against the high school a hoax on February 27.
“I think the threats are definitely getting out of control,” Kentucky deputy W.P. said. “I think a lot of these kids are trying to find humor in this, and I’m not sure why.”
Sabine ISD determined on February 19 that a possible threat was uncredible after receiving multiple reports about rumors of a shooting.
“With the recent happenings in Florida, everyone across the country is on high alert, as we [Sabine ISD] are,” Sabine ISD superintendent Stacey Bryce said. “I would like to thank our student body and our parents on reporting things to us when they hear them. That works much better than discussing rumors through social media.”
Since February 15, 2018, there have been 638 school shootings and threats of shootings, according to the Educator’s School Safety Network.
“We want any of the students or even parents dealing with schools to contact the police department or school resource officers or even the administration of the schools to make them aware of what is going on so we can look into it and ensure the safety of children,” Longview police Sergeant Shane McCarter said. “We are fully prepared to protect our community. We take every call seriously.”