Texas and other states have experienced hoax shootings, but experts say these threats shouldn’t be taken lightly. Research shows that if someone is going to commit a mass shooting there is a good chance they’ll drop hints beforehand.
Sometimes it’s just a student testing the system, said Julia Andrews, director of Harris County Department of Education’s Center for Safe and Secure Schools, an organization that develops best practices for school security systems.
“Sometimes, it can mean getting out of school early, avoiding a test or just seeking attention,” Andrews said. “We are now seeing a lot of copycat threats, but we must take all threats seriously.”
However, schools need to be prepared when that isn’t the case, she said.
An analysis of 170 perpetrators of mass shootings found that nearly half leaked their intention to act violently, with 44 percent of them leaking specific details of their plans, according to a 2021 study from the Journal of the American Medical Association, a peer-reviewed medical journal.
For decades, school’s have experienced bomb threats, but this many shooting threats — happening at the same time — is unusual, said Mo Canady, executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers.
“For false bomb threats we have those better figured out, but with a false active shooter situation we’re not there at all,”Canady said, “because we’re dealing with this new trend.”
In recent years, these threats have likely become more prevalent with the rise of social media, said Zachary Kaufman, the co-director of the Criminal Justice Institute at the University of Houston.
“Social media and (cell) phones have enabled such hoaxes to be made easier, quicker,” Kaufman said, “and seemingly more genuine than ever.”
See here for the background. As the story and my Facebook commenters noted, there were other hoax reports that day (in Waco, Eanes, and Pflugerville) and the next day, in Klein ISD. That feels a lot more precarious and unsettling than a one off to me. I don’t know what to do about it, I’m just flagging it for your attention. I’m glad to see there are people in the field who do have expertise in this. I really hope they won’t be called on to use it very often.