Social media threats are now closing schools more often than COVID

Students as young as 13 have been arrested in several states for allegedly posting threats
By: | February 9, 2022

Social media threats of violence against schools are now becoming more disruptive to in-person learning than are declining COVID cases. Over the last week, as many—or more—schools have closed temporarily or taken other security precautions than have shut down due to any continued spread of the virus.

Though the threats appear to be mostly unfounded, they are raising anxiety and stress at a time when many schools are finally trying to find some sense of normalcy as COVID retreats once again.

Earlier this month, Gwinn Area Community Schools in Michigan was closed while police investigated an “internet” threat of violence made over the weekend. Schools reopened Tuesday after police had tracked down the source of the threat and were “working with the family” involved, Superintendent Brandon Bruce announced on the district’s website.

In January, Mentor High School in Ohio closed for a day after police informed district administrators of a threatening social media post and that authorities were searching for the author, reported.

Pittsburgh Public Schools locked down three buildings on Feb. 3 after an online threat surfaced that morning, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Here’s a look at other closures that have occurred so far this year:

Students are being arrested

A middle school student in Southern California was arrested earlier this year for allegedly posting threats against his own school and a high school in Pomona USD, CBSLA reported. Parents initially notified authorities of the threat which the student under suspicion claimed was a joke, the website reported.

More from DA: Students arrested across the U.S. for threats made after TikTok scare

A 13-year-old was arrested in Collier County, Florida, on Jan. 31 after an investigation into a social media threat made against the student’s former schools, reported.

Last month, a student in Fairfield, Connecticut was arrested after the FBI spotted a potential threat on the social media app Yik Yak, reported. Despite the arrest, the incident prompted police to increase patrols in the city’s schools, the website reported.

Arrests have been made recently in Lee County, MississippiNashville and Pennsylvania.

And in Wisconsin, two students were expelled by the Green Bay Area Public School District after an investigation into social media threats, FOX11Online reported.

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