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SA's largest school district seeing increase in threats following Florida shooting

Many threats being made on social media

SAN ANTONIO – A spokesperson for San Antonio's largest school district said that, while there's been an increase in the number of threats made against schools since the Florida shooting, there's been an even greater increase in the number of students and parents reporting suspicious activity.

Northside Independent School District spokesman Barry Perez said after the shooting at a Florida high school that claimed the lives of 17 students, students and parents are taking the "see something, say something" motto seriously.

"Based on events recently in Florida, I think parents are super, super vigilant around reporting and we appreciate that," Perez said. "They're saying, 'If you see something, say something,' I think is certainly the case and we are certainly hearing from more and more individuals."

This week, KSAT-12 received several Facebook messages, calls and emails from concerned parents regarding rumored threats made against schools in NISD and other districts. Officials from SAISD and NISD said they have not found any threats made against their schools to be credible. 

"We recently had a situation where some posts were put out on social media, impacting two of our campuses. Individuals were very, very up front around sending those in to our Northside police sending those in to campus administrators, and we certainly appreciate that because it gives us a chance to really begin an investigation very early on."

Each middle school in NISD has one designated campus officer and every high school in NISD has two.

Perez said those two campuses, John Marshall Harlan High School and Taft High School, both had additional school district police officers on their campuses to make sure students and staff felt safe. 

"(Adding officers is) not always an indication that there's credibility to those posts, but as a precaution and certainly a desire to make sure parents and students feel safe," Perez said.

Other districts plagued with social media threats, misinformation on social media sites

New Braunfels Independent School District took to Facebook on Tuesday morning to quell parents' concerns after a "multitude of messages regarding possible school shootings" were posted to social media.

"Any time that we feel there is a credible threat, you will be notified immediately by school messenger of the threat," the release read. "We will also take any measure needed to ensure safety, including canceling of school if we are not satisfied that the threat has been eliminated."

The district said it currently does not notify parents about threats that aren't credible, but will talk with parents during meetings scheduled next week.

Misinformation on social media also caused a stir among students and parents.

"We cannot control postings on social media," the release said. "There were many things that were posted last night that were not true. These postings led to fear at multiple campuses when the incident was isolated to only one campus and that incident was not credible."

New Braunfels ISD officials will be meeting with the New Braunfels Police Department, the Comal County Sheriff's Department and the Comal County District Attorney's Office to discuss and review current local practices and procedures related to school safety.

Parents: NBISD is aware of the multitude of messages regarding possible school shootings that are being posted to...

Posted by New Braunfels ISD on Tuesday, February 20, 2018

"We're not going to take the chance to say 'It's a hoax. We don't believe it. Therefore, we're not going to do anything about it."

Perez said NISD begins investigations immediately after a threat is reported.

"In our district, and I'm sure other districts across the city, we're not going to take the chance to say 'It's a hoax. We don't believe it. Therefore, we're not going to do anything about it,'" Perez said. "When we receive a post like that, we begin an immediate investigation."

Perez said Northside ISD Police Department investigates threats, but includes local, state and even federal law enforcement in their investigations. 

"We want (people making threats) to know, if we can find the originator of these posts, there very well could be criminal charges that follow because of the actions they are taking. And what they think might be a hoax is truly something very serious in nature," Perez said.