Schools, officers respond to security threats
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PARENTS REMOVE CHILDREN FROM CAMPUSES
Parents of students at schools in Frio County flocked to collect their children from campuses Friday, May 12, when a series of social media posts and potential threats contributed to chaos and emergency lockdown measures.
The incidents occurred at a time approaching the first anniversary of a mass shooting in an elementary school in Uvalde, when a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers in their classrooms.
Frio County deputies and Pearsall police assisted Pearsall ISD Police Chief Nick DeLeon in providing immediate coverage on all campuses.
“We have been made aware of possible threats being made on social media in reference to possible school campus violence,” a press release from the Frio County Sheriff’s Office read. “While these threats did not originate in this area, we have taken a proactive approach and coordinated security procedures with our multiple school districts.”
Pearsall ISD was ordered into a secure lockdown mode, which allowed parents to sign their children out of school for the day, although they were not allowed inside the building.
Law enforcement officers escorted children to their parents.
“It is unfortunate that online threats can create this level of chaos for our schools and emergency services,” Chief Deputy Peter Salinas said Tuesday morning. “The reality is we simply cannot risk ignoring it only to find we were wrong.”
Our most precious resource, our children, are the future of this community,” Salinas added.
The district reported nearly 95 percent of children went home before noon on Friday.
In Dilley, the possible threat of gun violence on campus was intensified as a local juvenile posted a social media video depicting a rifle and a hand rummaging through ammunition.
“Out of the abundance of caution, three rifles and ammunition were turned over to the Dilley Police Department for safe keeping,” Interim Dilley Police Chief Steven Hernandez wrote in a press release.
According to the document, the school resource officer was able to identify the juvenile and met with the student and his parents.
Investigators believe students are increasingly using the speed and presumed anonymity of social media to post threats of violence against their schools and classmates.
“This extremity is forcing administrators to impose frightening lockdowns,” Salinas said. “This is happening everyday somewhere in the nation and it does not matter the social economic status or demographic makeup.
“Although we had no evidence that Friday’s threat was credible and we understand that online platforms will continue to pose the biggest obstacle, we will continue to serve and protect these children,” the chief deputy said.
Uvalde ISD board trustees cited “uncertainty” in their decision on Monday to end the school year before the May 24 anniversary of the shooting at Robb Elementary.