Killeen: Officials warning students about hoax school threats

(Photo by Alex Cano)

KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) As students prepare to take a week away from school, Killeen ISD leaders are issuing a warning after several threats against schools made by students.

The message for parents and students is simple: what a student may think is a joke has real-life consequences, says the district.

Across the district, law enforcement has been tasked with responding to multiple threats or hoaxes.

”These are serious offenses. We are all about the safety of our students. If they commit these offenses of threats, there are serious consequences whether going to juvenile detention, or if they’re 17 and an adult going to Bell County Jail,” Killeen ISD Police Chief Ralph Disher said.

He also added that a threat against a school is a felony.

This school year, there has been 11 terroristic threats reported. They include one threat at: Patterson Middle School, Eastern Hills Middle School, Manor Middle School, Nolan Middle School, Career Center, Shoemaker High School, Harker Heights High School, Ellison High School and a threat made on a school bus. There were two threats made at Killeen High School.

In comparison, for the entire 2017-2018 school year, there were 32 terroristic threats made.

Earlier this week, a 12-year-old middle school student was arrested for making a bomb threat – a threat which meant numerous agencies to investigate.

”If it’s a bomb, or something like that, that we’ve had recently, we work with some of the local law enforcement agencies that have bomb dogs to come in to make sure our students are safe while we are tracking down information,” Disher said.

District officials say these threats are often posted on social media in attempt to be a joke.

”Once you send it out, you lose control --- but you don’t lose responsibility for what you’ve done,” Disher added.

Responsibility of making those kind of social media posts could come with a permanent criminal record.

”Every maximum charge that we can get out of that, that’s what we’re doing so they can understand the seriousness of what they do,” Disher said.

Killeen ISD will hold a meeting on March 21 for parents and community members at the Harker Heights High School auditorium. District officials will also meet with students at middle and high schools during March 25-29. For the elementary school students, counselors will make a presentation with each grade level.