HOUSTON - Just this week across the Houston area, at least four schools have reported receiving false threats made against their campuses.
"We have seen a huge amount of threats occurring, just this week alone, across the state and across the country," said Kathy Martinez-Prather, Director of the Texas School Safety Center. "I think this is a time to educate parents, students, and staff not to become complacent. The message to be sent here is every threat should be evaluated."
So far this week, we’ve reported on threats made at Heights High School, Eisenhower High School, Klein Forest High School, and Lincoln High School. In addition, on Tuesday a gun was confiscated at Madison High School.
"After we have a highly publicized event, we usually do see an increase in threats," said Martinez-Prather. "The tragedy in Uvalde happened at the end of the school year. Now, we’re starting up school again."
On Twitter, FBI Houston posted an alert about the recent threats made against schools.
"The FBI is aware of numerous swatting incidents wherein a report of an active shooter at a school is made," said the FBI Houston Twitter post. "While we have no information to indicate a specific and credible threat, we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners and act upon threat information."
According to data shared by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), Houston Independent School District received 118 threats at schools last year. That included five considered "imminent".
"The people making the threats can be an array of different people," said Houston Police Commander Kenneth Campbell from the Criminal Intelligence Division. "It can be actual students or it can be former students. There’s a really large spectrum as to who it could or could not be."
On Thursday, a student at Klein Forest High School was arrested accused of making threats online about a bomb. Police say they take all threats seriously.
"We are actively and thoroughly investigating the previous incident, as well as other incidents," said Campbell. "If they want to put a threat out on social media, I really suggest that they think strongly about what they’re putting out there, because it can affect a lot of peoples’ lives. We don’t take it lightly and we will prosecute."
Houston ISD released a statement to FOX 26 late Thursday about the recent threats:
HISD takes every threat seriously and investigates each report. We depend on community members, students and staff alike to report suspicious activity through our various channels including the Say Something app and the HISD Police 24 hour hotline which can be reached at 713-892-7777.