How Round Rock ISD tracks threats from social media

ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) -- Students who knew Nikolas Cruz, the teenager who opened fire on a Florida high school, recall his Instagram posts about killing animals and posing with a gun. Those are the kinds of posts Round Rock Independent School District administrators are looking for on the internet.

The district partners with Social Sentinel, a company that searches for threatening words on social media. If the threat mentions a Round Rock school or if the person making the threat goes to Round Rock ISD, the district gets an alert.

The district just received an alert Wednesday after a McNeil High School parent posted on Twitter about the Florida shooting -- the post contained the words McNeil and shooter.

"It's filtering words, active shooter and stuff and then I read it and it's not a threat, it's just part of the news," explains Mario DeLarosa, the safety and security director for Round Rock ISD.

John Agan's youngest grandchild is a ninth grader at Stony Point High School. He relies on the district to protect him at school, especially after another shooting. "Anything they can do to deter this would be very helpful," said Agan.

The district also added about 600 more security cameras this year for a total of 2,700. It is one more tool working alongside social media scanning to try to catch a problem before it gets worse. "If they can be on it to stop some of this, it would definitely be worthwhile," explains Agan.

The district is also looking at alarm systems to alert people when a secure door is left open. The district says doors should not be propped open, but they realize it sometimes happens. In an email sent to Cedar Ridge High School students and staff Thursday morning, school leaders write that doors leading outside the building should never be propped open, and if they see a door propped open, to remove the item holding it open.

The district also uses an Anonymous Alerts program for people to report urgent or sensitive issues to Round Rock ISD. Since September 2017, the district has received about 200 alerts.

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