KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
September 24, 2018
By Katrina Katsarelis
Photo above is from the #thinkbeforeyoupost campaign. Click to watch video.
A new study revealed there was a 156% increase in students getting arrested for making terroristic threats in the first half of 2018 alone. Katy ISD and other districts, and law enforcement agencies are collaborating to help get the word out about the dangers of making such threats, even when it's made in humor or there is no intent to commit the crime.
According to Katy ISD representatives and police officials, Hoax threats are no laughing matter. Threats of violence, whether verbally stated or posted on social media, can lead to serious legal and lifelong consequences for students, parents, and others.
In August, a Morton Ranch High School student was overheard saying he was going to "blow up his school". The student realized the serious consequences of what he considered to be "a joke" when he was arrested for making a terroristic threat. Katy ISD responded with this statement. "At Katy ISD, threats of any nature are taken seriously and investigated to the full extent allowable by law and District policy."
#ThinkBeforeYouPost Awareness Campaign
Katy ISD has joined forces with the FBI Houston Division and various other law enforcement agencies to launch a public awareness campaign entitled #ThinkBeforeYouPost. The campaign is designed to educate parents and students about how seriously these threats are taken and how they can have devastating legal consequences.
Every Threat Taken Seriously Members of the Houston Police Department, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, police chiefs from Houston, Katy, Fort Bend and Aldine Independent School Districts as well as Crime Stoppers of Houston and Clear Channel Outdoor seek to educate the public about the consequences of making hoax threats of violence to schools and other public places. Every threat is taken seriously and this type of behavior is considered a crime which can lead to a sentence of up to five years in prison, if escalated to a federal crime. If a federal charge is not warranted, state charges can be considered.
Getting the Word out to Students and Parents “My commendation to federal authorities for putting together an effort including law enforcement agencies from area school districts. This is a campaign that creates awareness with young people and also with their parents,” said Robert Jinks, Katy ISD Chief of Police.
Countless Hours of Investigation According to authorities, posting false threats through social media platforms or any electronic means, not only requires countless hours of investigation by law enforcement agencies but it also drains school resources and ends up costing taxpayers’ money. In some cases, schools shut down resulting in the loss of instructional time for students and teachers.
Not a Laughing Matter Misguided attempts at humor are no laughing matter and can end up ruining a student’s future aspirations and career opportunities. Katy ISD seeks the public’s assistance to curb hoax threats among our student population.
What Katy Parents Can Do
Talk to you child about the seriousness of posting any type of threat of violence or speaking threats verbally.
Show your child some of the actual cases of students that were expelled, arrested, charged, and even convicted for what they felt was a joke.
Review and discuss some of these helpful resources with your child.