What happens during a school lockdown?
Police continued on Monday to investigate a social media threat made at Eastern Hills High School where someone posted “many lives will be lost.”
Extra patrol officers were at the campus, 5701 Shelton St., following the threat, which was made on Sunday. The threat is believed to have kept many students home. Of the 1,054 students enrolled at Eastern Hills, 496 were absent Monday.
“FWPD will work with FWISD to ensure an increased security presence at the campus,” said Officer Buddy Calzada, a police department spokesman, in a Monday email.
Calzada said police are investigating the validity of the threat.
As of Monday, no arrests had been announced.
On Sunday, someone posted on Instagram, “Ready for the big day tomorrow where I can finally unleash the inner demons that have been eating me alive ... Many lives will be lost tomorrow but God will forgive me for he has always.”
A weapon was pictured in the posted threat.
The threat prompted a stern message to families from Kent Scribner, superintendent of Fort Worth schools. Scribner sent a letter to families asking parents to help stop social media threats directed at schools and students. He said people who make such threats can be charged with crimes. In past cases, students have been charged.
“I cannot emphasize strongly enough that such acts are a CRIME,” Scribner said in a press release. “Some of the students involved in sending these threats have already been arrested,” Scribner stated alluding to past cases. “Make no doubt about it — we will prosecute anyone who perpetrates such criminal activity.”
Letters were sent to families in English and Spanish.
Fort Worth school district officials said they work with police when any threats are made against a school.
“When we become aware of social media, or other types of threats, we immediately engage the Fort Worth PD,” said Clint Bond, district spokesman in an email. “Sometimes it’s the Fort Worth Police providing us with first notification.”
Bond said the police have the ability to identify the origin of a threat and make an “immediate home visit.”
“They ask to search a house to determine if the means to carry out a threat is present,” Bond stated. “Depending on the threat we take immediate actions to make sure our students, staff and visitors are safe at the school. This may include extra vigilance by police outside as well as other measures we prefer not to discuss.”
Students and parents discussed and shared the threat on social media, including sharing a picture of the threat on Snapchat and Facebook. Concerns about the threat prompted some parents to keep their students home Monday.
“Since parents always have the right to take their children out of school, once we have collected as much confirmed information as we can, we attempt to notify parents using our mass notification system about what we know and what we believe is the best course of action,” Bond said. “We ask that parents work with us on that and not remove children until we, and police, make a recommendation.”