School threats spreading on social media raising new fears

School threats spreading on social media raising new fears

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by KGW Staff

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kgw.com

Posted on December 20, 2012 at 6:31 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 20 at 8:29 PM

TIGARD, Ore. -- School districts around Oregon and Southwest Washington are dealing with widespread rumors of possible school shootings posted on Facebook and Twitter.

Police have said that they are investigating each threat and do not believe any students are at risk, but the fearful messages are still leaving many parents and students quite concerned.

Police said they take these kinds of threats very seriously. In Kelso, police arrested a 14-year old student who they said had hatched a detailed plan to shoot staff and the school officer. The teen did not have a gun.

‘They got it all worked out perfect, like they locked all the doors except the front door, check anybody who was looking suspicious," said student Jesse Baldwin.

In a separate incident, officers in Longview tracked down another 14-year old who they said had threatened to shoot classmates.

Meantime, police and administrators have continued to work to reassure students and their parents.

"I felt confident in the administrators at the school here, they have a security officer on duty all the time, we practice lock down drills quite often,” said parent Trisha Martin.

Social media has also been buzzing over December 21 doomsday predictions – which were deemed baseless. But many people are especially vulnerable now, following the tragedy in Conn. and the deadly shooting at the Clackamas Town Center.

School district officials said the rumors have not only been widespread, but persistent.

"Social media has been a game changer. It has increased the speed and the breadth of this type of message," said Sandy Catt with the Longview School District.

Some parents have chosen to keep their kids home, to ensure their safety.

Administrators with the Jefferson County School District in Central Oregon decided to cancel all classes on Friday. They said even though police assure that no one is at risk, the rumors have become too disruptive.

(KGW reporter Kyle Iboshi contributed to this report.)

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