Social Media Threats Are Serious Issue

Police, Superintendent Say Social Media Threats A Serious Issue
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February 2, 2016 -- Amarillo police have arrested a student in connection with a rumored threat against a school that has been circulating on social media. 


After investigating, school officials and the Amarillo police determined that the threat was not real or credible, but since the rumor began circulating, additional threatening messages have appeared on at least three AISD campuses.  Police believe the additional messages are “copy-cat” messages and not credible.  However, AISD Superintendent Dr. Dana West wants students to know such messages are taken extremely seriously by police and school officials.  “We want students to understand the severity of these actions,” Dr. West said.  “Messages such as these threatening violence at school have serious consequences.”  According to the Amarillo Police Department, making a false alarm or report is a state jail felony.     


Yesterday, a picture of a message written on a wall threatening violence at “a school” on February 2 was circulating among Palo Duro students on social media.  The message was reportedly associated with Palo Duro, but Amarillo police and school officials conducted an investigation and thorough search of the school and did not find the message anywhere on the Palo Duro campus. As a result, police and school officials did not believe the threat was credible.  However, they took every precaution to make sure the campus was secure and students and staff were safe at school today, including increasing police presence. 


Late this morning, a graffiti message was found at Palo Duro possibly linking to the first message.  Rather than report the graffiti, a student took a picture of it and posted the picture to social media.  Another investigation and questioning of students led to the arrest this afternoon of the student suspected of writing the graffiti message. 


Also, late this afternoon, similar graffiti messages were found at other AISD campuses.  Although police and school officials believe the “copy-cat” messages are a result of the social media threat investigated yesterday and are not valid or credible, they take every incident seriously and investigate to determine who is responsible.  Parents and students should immediately report any information about such incidents or threats to school administrators. 


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