School threats increasing, due to social media

Police actually better able to track down digital threats

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Threats of violence against schools are becoming more prevalent across the country — especially through social media.

Years ago, threats may have been made on a note in the hall or on a bathroom wall. Today, schools are being evacuated more frequently because of anonymous threats made on social media sites or apps like Burnbook, After School, and YikYak. Most of the time, they turn out to be hoaxes; no bomb or weapon, just students pulling a prank or avoiding a test.

Chicopee Police Officer Mike Wilk told 22News that it may be easier to make the threats, but it’s also easier to find the culprit.

“If they’re angry, upset, or something, it’s a lot easier for them to go out and ‘boom,’ throw out a tweet or Facebook message and hit ‘send,’ and it’s gone. There’s less thought in doing it. But it does make it a lot easier for law enforcement to trace it back,” Wilk said.

The National School Safety and Security Services group looked at more than 800 threats during the first half of this school year. More than a third of those threats were sent digitally. A threat that closed down Lenox Memorial Middle and High School on Thursday came in a less high-tech way; through an answering machine message.

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