School threats online have severe consequences

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Students at Burges High School attempted to have a regular school day but that can be difficult after learning about a possible school shooting.

“I found out through Facebook that they had threatened the school,” Jesus Peña, a student at the high school, said.

Peña was so worried, he had his mother pick him up early.

“By now we knew it was just a prank but better safe than sorry,” Peña said.

He said classmates were talking all day about the Facebook post that included the threat.

“Since it was on social media, it was shared quite often,” Melissa Martinez said.

Martinez is the spokesperson for the El Paso Independent School District. She said sharing such a post can really hurt an investigation.

“People think they’re being helpful by warning their friends and letting others know about it, but it makes it very difficult for police to know and investigate the origin of that post,” Martinez said.

Sharing such a post can even put you in danger, depending on your intent.

“If it was something where you might be sharing it to try and scare people or help this person share that threat then you could be held liable as well,” Martinez said.

If a threat leads to a school lockdown, those posting the original threat will face serious and expensive consequences.

“We call in law enforcement, not only our own but outside reinforcements. That's very costly,” Martinez said. “Not only could you be facing those fines, and having to repay for those resources, but those are criminal offenses as well.”

Parents told us they were scared but feel their children are safe at school despite posters making threats.

“I think they just want attention, I think that's mainly what it is, that they want attention,” Martha Madrid, a parent at Burges, said.

Instead of sharing a post that includes a threat or mentions a possible threat, you’re asked to take a screenshot of the post and call police immediately.

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