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Law enforcement cracking down on school threat hoaxes

Posted at 6:21 PM, Sep 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-16 23:18:14-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — It's called hashtag "Think Before You Post" #ThinkBeforeYouPost and local, county, state and federal law enforcement are standing behind it.

Anyone who makes a school threat as a joke, whether that be through social media, text or email, will face serious consequences.

Today law enforcement from around the area gathered to discuss the FBI's community outreach effort to try and scale down on the number of school threats hoaxes. They said they have seen an alarming increase in these hoaxes.

The "Think Before You Post" campaign is meant to remind students of the severity of making online jokes by threatening a school's safety.

Authorities also said sharing these hoaxes online only adds to the fear and confusion.

"Please do not share it," FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Edward Michel said. "You will only create panic. Instead notify law enforcement -- that is our job. Many times you will see or here about these threats before we do."

He wants people to share the "Think Before You Post" hashtag. Lamar Outdoor Advertising is partnering with the campaign and will donate billboard space in the coming weeks.

The news conference discussed how hoax threats drain law enforcement's resources costing tax payer money in addition to shutting down campuses and creating unnecessary panic.

Michel said it doesn't matter someone's age, if they make a school threat as a joke, they will either be kicked out of school, arrested, detained or spend time behind bars.

Michel said this month alone there were 33 general threats from the Houston FBI office which includes Corpus Christi. He said 17 of those were school threats of which eight occurred here in town.

CCPD Chief Mike Markle encourages parents to talk to their children about the severity of these threats.

"I implore you, if you are listening to this to talk to your children," Markle said, "Or if you are a student, to take heed before you post something that gets you in trouble even if you are just venting."

CCISD Chief Kirby Warnke said weeks following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida the district received 30 threats resulting in 15 arrests.

The most recent arrest was last month when a young woman posted a threat regarding Tuloso-Midway High School.