Texas schools on high alert after viral posts warn of nationwide ‘school shooting day’

Seven students from Frisco are among the North Texas students in detention this week over school-related threats made online.

The arrests come as school districts across the region and across the country respond to viral social media posts that threaten the safety of students.

Although most are not directed to any particular school, the messages warned of a nationwide “school shooting day” Friday. Districts are taking enhanced security measures to ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff on campus. Some schools have asked students not to bring backpacks today due to the threat.

Frisco’s seven students included middle school students who “are learning a painful lesson too young,” Frisco Police Chief David Shilson said in a statement on the department’s Facebook page.

“These threats will be taken seriously and there will be criminal consequences for anyone who threatens our schools and staff,” the statement said. “This is not a game or a contest for more likes or followers – threats at school and threats against school staff are criminal.”

Shilson did not elaborate on the charges against the seven students. He said more arrests could be made in the future as authorities continue their investigation.

A Rockwall High School student was also taken into custody on Friday on a terrorist threat felony charge. The Rockwall Police Department learned of text messages Thursday evening implicating the threat of a potential shooting, as well as photos of “simulated firearms” and airsoft guns, police said.

The young student who was not at school on Friday and identified as responsible for the threats and was taken into custody at his home, police said. No credible danger has been found and an investigation into the threats is underway, police said.

Kaufman ISD officials made the decision to shut down his high school campus on Friday.

According to a district statement shared with NBC5, the district was shutting down the school out of “excess of caution” after receiving “anonymous but campus-specific and date-specific” threats to Kaufman High School.

Dallas school officials released a statement on social media, saying the district and its police department were aware of the national trend.

“As local law enforcement continues to receive these various threats that aim to create anxiety and disrupt the last day of school for 2021, they don’t think the messages are credible,” the post said. from DISD.

On Thursday, ISD officials in Grapevine-Colleyville were alerted to a post on Instagram referring to planned violence at “GHS” on December 17th.

The district determined the vague threat was made about another out-of-state campus – but still shared message to parents Thursday afternoon.

Schools across the country - including those in Forney, Waco, Lewisville and Coppell - are fighting rumors that are spreading among students on social media.

“We will continue to emphasize ‘see something, say something’,” one GCISD post read, “because we believe it is our collective responsibility to ensure the safety of our students and staff. “

It comes after Frisco ISD canceled classes at Lone Star High School on Monday and Tuesday this week after a different threat made its way into districts across the country via social media.

Last week, rumors also circulated across the country via social media encouraging students to “leave the classroom and riot”, sparking concern among members of the school and the community. Area officials assured families that the position was not specific to any district or campus.

A Lewisville student was arrested on Monday on a felony charge of threatening Marcus High School in a hoax, Flower Mound police said.

In Lewisville, police have taken three minors into custody in connection with threats made last week. None of the threats were found to be credible, police said on Friday.

ISD Mansfield asked middle and high school students not to bring their backpacks to school on Friday, ten weeks after a shooting at Timberview High School where four people were injured. In addition, the district shared a letter with parents on Thursday, saying it would work with local law enforcement to ensure an increased presence on campus.

Schools across the country have been more vigilant this month, after a shooting at a high school in Oxford, Mich., Left four dead and seven seriously or seriously injured. Oxford community schools closed for the rest of the week on Tuesday, a day after receiving a threat on social media.

Former Dallas ISD Police Chief Craig Miller said in an email that following such events, “there are ALWAYS more threats in our country.”

Also, the closer we get to the Christmas holidays next week, the more these threats will increase, ”Miller wrote on Dec. 10. “Many school districts will have early release next week and students are still looking for a way to get Christmas vacation. started early. Because law enforcement must view all threats as credible, resources will be strained. “

Editors Brayden Garcia and Catherine Marfin contributed to this report.

The DMN Education Lab deepens coverage and conversation on pressing education issues critical to the future of North Texas.

The DMN Education Lab is a community-funded journalism initiative, with support from The Beck Group, Bobby and Lottye Lyle, Communities Foundation of Texas, The Dallas Foundation, Dallas Regional Chamber, Deedie Rose, The Meadows Foundation, Solutions Journalism Network , Southern Methodist University and Todd A. Williams Family Foundation. The Dallas Morning News retains full editorial control of Education Lab journalism.

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