HOUSTON — After threatening social media posts led to a mass exodus at Klein Cain High School, district police and school officials are taking action.
Klein ISD Police Chief David Kimberly confirmed a student has been expelled and the district is pursing criminal charges, including possibly terroristic threat, following the incident.
He said students are now prohibited from bringing bags or backpacks to campus through the end of the semester.
Kimberly said Houston FBI had already alerted district police to several online threats made this week, but one post Tuesday incited panic among students and parents.
"I see our parents come up with fear and panic in their eyes. Social media has morphed it into something that it's not," Kimberly said.
The Harris County Pct. 4 Constable's Office aided district police in contacting a person of interest and arresting them. The district will not release the student's identity because the say they're a minor.
"This is not a prank. This is not a joke. This is not a way to get more likes or more shares," Kimberly addressed students during a press conference Wednesday. "You're going to get notoriety but not the kind you're looking for."
Kimberly clarified that no credible threats against the school have been found. He said the biggest problem for investigators has been finding the original source.
"If you see it, share it, don't spread it. And when I say, 'share it,' I mean send it to your Klein ISD administrators," Kimberly said.
Post re-sharing complicated the investigation, the chief said.
"This new threat went viral just like that," Kimberly said. "It was as if someone flipped a light switch. We went from everyone in class to me having 400 parents at front of building."
Kimberly reminded parents and students to report all threats using the #KeepKleinSafe section of the Klein ISD Police Department website.
He also had an important message for students: "If you make a threat to our campus, there's a very strong chance you'll be expelled immediately... not only will you be expelled, we will pursue all charges we're able to."
Police presence has been increased at the campus and a K-9 officer has been assigned to the school. Bags and backpacks brought to campus will be confiscated and inspected, district police said.
In the meantime, authorities are tracking down all threatening posts on social media. Crime Stoppers of Houston is offering a reward for information and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has offered the district assistance, the chief said.