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Pflugerville ISD latest district to receive social media threat

The principal at Weiss High School said Friday that the district police department is investigating the threat and that police presence had been increased.

PFLUGERVILLE, Texas — Pflugerville ISD joined a list of Central Texas school districts that have recently received social media threats or rumors of violence.

In a letter to parents sent out Friday, Weiss High School Principal Sheila Reed said the Pflugerville ISD Police Department was investigating a social media threat after the school was made aware of the post.

While police continue to investigate, the school said nothing relating to the threat has been deemed credible at this point in the investigation but that the district has increased officer presence on campus.

"We and other school districts in the area have seen a recent increase in threats made against campuses online via social media," Reed wrote in the letter. "We know that your child’s safety is your number one concern. Please know that it is our number one priority as well."

Reed went on to say that PfISD PD will fully investigate any threat made toward any campus and she encouraged students, parents and staff to report any "negative activity" using the online anonymous reporting system.

Reed's report of the threat comes just a day after the district's Superintendent Douglas Killian sent out a letter to all middle and high school parents alerting them of the recent trend among students making social media threats. Killian said even threats deemed noncredible can still result in disciplinary action or criminal charges in some cases.

"I invite you to please discuss your child’s use of social media with them and monitor what they are posting, sharing and following," he wrote. "Please emphasize the importance of reporting any negative activity they see relating to their school and/or fellow students."

   

Pflugerville ISD is the latest Central Texas school district to receive some kind of violent threat or rumor in recent days. Just this week Lake Travis ISD alerted parents of two separate threats a day apart at two campuses. Both of those cases threatened violence at the schools on Dec. 9. As a result, the district increased police presence at both impacted campuses through the end of the week.

Austin ISD was also among the districts facing threats, after a photo was circulated giving the impression that James Bowie High School was being targeted for violence. The school ultimately found the threat was not credible.

In that instance, Robert Brooks, whose son attends the high school, told KVUE that he pulled his son out of classes Tuesday because of the rumors and was cautious in sending back on Thursday. 

"I already tell him, 'You know, I love you, have a good day at school,' but now it's like, I don't want to let him get out of the car because I don't know what's going to happen at the school that day," Brooks told KVUE on Thursday.

In these recent cases, school districts have said police departments investigate the rumors or threats to determine whether or not the targeted schools actually face a threat. 

Round Rock ISD's Stony Point High School also recently responded to a rumor of a threat within the past week, and District Police Chief Jeffrey Yarbrough spoke about investigating the threat and making parents aware at the appropriate times so that both parents and students remain safe.

"When we push out information, we want to make sure we're pushing out the most accurate information in the in the most timely manner. And sometimes that can be quick. It depends on the situation, but sometimes it may be delayed a little bit until we can get a good grasp on what we're pushing out," Yarbrough said.

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