Superintendent Kent Scribner is calling on parents to help stop a series of prank threats the Fort Worth school district has investigated in the weeks since the massacre in Parkland, Fla.
"As a school community we are now faced with a different and even more alarming threat which could just as easily result in injury, continued psychological impact, or even death," Scribner stated in a letter sent Thursday to parents in English and Spanish. "Those threats are the online prank threats that are flooding social media. These phony messages are, more than not, sent by students of all ages who think it's funny for police to arrive at their campus, or for the school to be placed in lockdown."
The Fort Worth school district has investigated more than a dozen threats that turned out to be pranks since the mass shooting Feb. 14 in Florida, said Clint Bond, district spokesman. Most have been via social media, he said.
The letter is the result of ongoing discussions between district officials and Fort Worth police about how to better protect schools, Bond said. They have met every Friday since the tragedy in Florida and plan to present the superintendent and police chief with new school safety ideas, Bond said.
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Other North Texas school districts, including Arlington, Birdville and Northwest, have also dealt with prank threats.
Scribner's letter noted that prank threats divert police and resources from "legitimate emergencies."
"Prank messages that threaten the safety and security of public facilities, such as schools, whether posted on social media, or written on a restroom wall, are crimes," Scribner stated in the letter, warning students that sharing or distributing prank messages can also be investigated.