With 4th anonymous school threat in a week, police pushing for tougher penalties for hoaxers
STANWOOD, Wash. — Another school threat and the disruption of classes.
In an anonymous threat, someone named specific students in an Instagram post.
Q13 FOX News on Tuesday talked to a student who says his girlfriend and friends were pictured and named in the ominous message. We are not identifying the student.
“A lot of them did not come to school because of it,” the student said.
Authorities say the anonymous post targeted 20 specific students.
The post stated: I hate you all I tried to talk to you and be friends with you but you all ignore me. You all will face me and you will be sorry.”
“It’s terrifying to any parent,” parent Chuck Cook said.
Stanwood High alerted law enforcement on Monday but most parents only found out Tuesday morning while classes were already under way.
“I’m disappointed, I will say that much, in the school district. He would have definitely not come to school today if we had known,” Cook said.
In the last week, four different schools in the Puget Sound area have gone into lockdown, or evacuated or closed for the day due to anonymous threats of violence.
On Friday, a bomb threat at Mount Rainier High forced Highline schools to send kids home.
“There was a time when a bomb threat was a kid trying to get out of a test," Highline Schools spokesperson Catherine Carbone Rogers said. "We can’t count on that anymore our experiences tell us there are threats and they are real.”
Three separate agencies with bomb-sniffing dogs canvassed Mount Rainier High for six hours.
“Thousands, if not tens of thousands, of dollars just for a few hours of investigating,” Sgt. Doug Jenkins said.
Jenkins with Des Moines police says the incidents are draining resources and disrupting education for thousands of kids. He`s calling on lawmakers to help crack down with tougher penalties.
“We need to tighten those laws up a little bit so it’s a little bit easier to prosecute, the problem here is that it’s hard tracking down the people responsible,” Jenkins said.
State Rep. Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, chairman of the Public Safety Committee, says he plans on drafting legislation asking for stricter penalties and resources so police can solve anonymous threats.
So far no arrests have been made in any of the threats.
Stanwood-Camano School District sent out a late press release on Tuesday saying the Instagram message was first posted on Sunday. The school alerted the parents and students named in the post on Monday. The statement reads in part.
“Law enforcement does not consider there to be a credible threat to students or staff; however, the SCSD feels it is important to keep our entire school community informed, so all parents were notified today. Additional law enforcement is in place to reinforce security until further notice.
"Again, our priority is the emotional and physical safety of our students and staff. The SCSD is working closely with the Stanwood Police Department to ensure the school environment is safe while the investigation continues. If parents are more comfortable keeping their child home tomorrow, please contact the school to make arrangements.”