TARRANT COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – Police, schools and the FBI are teaming up to combat a rise in fake threats to schools in Tarrant County.
“Fake Threat, Real Regret,” will emphasize the jail time and fine for those caught making a real or fake threat of violence toward schools.
The campaign is launching after a year when tips to Crime Stoppers in Tarrant County about potential school threats totaled 183. That was up from 108 tips in 2018. It did not include cases law enforcement may have investigated on their own.
Arlington police said they arrested 22 people for such threats last year. Half of them were middle school age students.
“These sorts of criminal acts, represent a real anxious moment for parents,” said Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson.
Arlington PD said the FBI approached the department last year, interested in teaming to curb the rise in threats. Police will often seek federal help when needing to determine who’s behind a threat made on social media.
Along with a social media campaign, schools are planning programs to educate students on the consequences of making threats.
“It dominates the discussion, it dominates the response, it dominates the fear,” said Arlington superintendent Dr. Marcelo Cavazos. “And when that happens in a school environment of a high school or a junior high or even an elementary, it takes time to recover emotionally from that as well.”