A viral SnapChat message threatening violence at an unnamed school made its way to Hardin and Dayton schools Monday morning, causing unwarranted alarm among parents and students.
The SnapChat threat is extremely vague and suggests that a message was allegedly written on a school bathroom wall that says a school shooting is to take place on Monday, Sept. 12. However, the threat does not mention a specific school district, city or state.
On Monday morning, a Hardin High School student’s mother contacted the school to say she had seen the threat on SnapChat and was concerned. School officials began investigating and determined that the threat that was seen by the Hardin parents came from a message shared by a Dayton High School student.
“It became apparent that it was a generalized screenshot that was being shared by kids that went viral. It appears that kids got it from somewhere else and it kept getting passed around,” said Pct. 3 Deputy Constable Hugh Bishop, who works as a school resource officer at Hardin High School. “When we saw that a Dayton student was the source for our rumor, we contacted Dayton ISD and they were already on it on their end.”
The evening before, Dayton ISD officials became aware of the alleged threat and had already begun taking precautions and checking to see if there was any validity to the threat.
“Dayton High School Principal Jeff McCracken and all of his assistant principals went up to the high school last night just to see if there was any messaging anywhere in any of the bathrooms. They didn’t find anything,” said Jeff Nations, athletic director and a spokesman for Dayton ISD.
Officials from the two school districts say that the threat is being taken seriously and security has been stepped up as a precaution.
Hardin ISD’s school resource officers are making extra patrols and are being assisted by school staff to provide extra eyes and ears, and the high school campus was temporarily placed on hold, restricting movement in the hallways between classes. Dayton ISD added extra security.
“At this time, there is no validity to the threat. However, our district takes all threats seriously, and we are going through an in-depth investigation with our Harris County Precinct 3 Constables. Dayton High School administrators have searched and have not found any credible evidence in the high school. There will be extra officers at our secondary campuses Monday morning as an added precaution,” said Travis Young, Dayton ISD Assistant Superintendent of Student Services. “We encourage parents and students to please share any pertinent information with their campus administration. The safety of our students and staff is our number one priority. Parents, please continue to have conversations with your children about making smart decisions and using social media in a responsible manner.”
UPDATE from Dayton ISD: “Dayton ISD officers and Administrators have been investigating the threat of violence at a high school. There has not been any credible evidence to indicate that there was ever a threat to the Dayton High School Students and Staff. There are many unsubstantiated rumors regarding this social media threat. Our Harris County Precinct 3 Constables are collaborating with other law enforcement agencies to gather information and will continue to investigate this matter. The highest priority of Dayton ISD is the safety and security of our students, staff, and community. Parents, please continue to have conversations with your children about making smart decisions and using social media in a responsible manner.”