How an onslaught of social media threats is disrupting and terrorizing schools

Last week in Cobb County, Georgia, students and parents caught wind of a social media post threatening to "make history as the top school slaughter." Here's how administrators can mitigate these risks to ensure a swift recovery.

Student safety is on the minds of many school administrators and district leaders, and for good reason. There have been at least 134 school shooting incidents on K12 school grounds since the start of 2023, according to the “K-12 School Shooting Database.” Amid this heightened need for security, educators must take every threat seriously.

In recent weeks, overwhelming numbers of threats have been made against schools on social media. In some cases, they were made by students themselves, but recent headlines suggest threat actors are attacking anonymously.

This week, Green Bay police received reports of a social media post threatening a shooting at one local high school. The post was made anonymously, though investigators are working to determine where it originated and if it has any credibility.

Additional officers were sent to the school Tuesday out of caution.

“We want to acknowledge the anxiety and concern these threats create and encourage students to reach out to Student Services staff if they are experiencing difficulties at school tomorrow,” reads a letter from the Green Bay Area Public School District. “We also encourage our staff to reach out to EAP for support.”

On Monday, Lamar Consolidated ISD in Texas debunked a threat made on social media that claimed there would be shootings at two of its campuses. The district increased its police presence at the schools on Monday with no interruptions to instruction.

“We have encouraged all staff, students and community members to be extra vigilant today and that if they have any safety concerns, please report them immediately to a campus administrator or police officer,” the district said in a statement.

Last week in Cobb County, Georgia, students and parents caught wind of a social media post threatening to “make history as the top school slaughter.” The vague statement didn’t mention and specify school, state or city.

According to Coweta County Schools, a student reposted the threat on their personal social media account, adding that it’s become a nationwide trend.

“These false rumors are impacting school operations in a number of our schools, as well as districts across the metropolitan area and across the county,” the district told WSB-TV. “As always, we take every report of a threat, or rumor of a threat, seriously to help ensure our schools are secure and our students are safe.”

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Mitigating the risk

While it’s difficult to prevent the creation and circulation of threats made against your schools, leaders can come prepared to mitigate the risk and recover as quickly as possible to avoid classroom disruptions.

In a blog post on the National School Safety and Security Services’ website, its President Kenneth Trump outlines six basic principles for threat assessment and management:

  1. Take every threat seriously.
  2. Investigate promptly and efficiently.
  3. Leverage support staff and external resources to evaluate threats.
  4. Take appropriate disciplinary and criminal enforcement threats.
  5. Document each threat and the actions taken.
  6. Enhance all necessary security measures.
Micah Ward
Micah Ward
Micah Ward is a District Administration staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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