Granger ISD warns of social media risks after threat investigation

Williamson County

The Granger Independent School District tweeted a letter to parents Monday night after investigating two social media posts that the district said posed a possible threat to school safety. 

“That was pretty disturbing to me just because my kids are there,” said Granger ISD parent Kandyce Phelps. “The image was a hand holding a gun saying they were going to kill explicit word, explicit word, up there at the school.”

The Granger Police Department investigated and says the caption about killing kids was lyrics from a rap song; they did not find intent to carry out any violence.

“Whether he would or would not have done it, is not for any of us to decide, the fact that he put it out there is enough,” explains Phelps.

The school district is still conducting its own investigation into the posts, from two separate students. The district says it’s difficult to determine the credibility of a threat.

“You don’t [know], that’s the tough call,” said Randy Willis, superintendent of Granger ISD. “We have to take all those very seriously in the initial investigation.”

Regardless, Phelps wants better communication. The district posted about the potential threat on its Facebook page Monday afternoon then sent letters to parents, which they didn’t receive until a few days later. In the letter, the district says it’s important that students and parents understand the risks and consequences that students put themselves in when they post pictures or make comments that can be interpreted as a threat.

Willis goes on to write, “Such behavior can result in criminal offenses and disciplinary action by the district.”

Phelps would like to see an automated alert. “You don’t even have to be that specific, just that an occurrence at school happened, we have it under control don’t fear,” said Phelps.

“I’ll take that into a little more different consideration for our next event because it’s a learning process for us, these are new things we are facing with,” explains Willis.

As the school district continues its investigation into these posts, they’re looking at intent and the students’ disciplinary history. Depending on the outcome, the students could face discipline that ranges from being sent to an alternative school, to out of school suspension.

The district is also in the process of bringing back an armed police officer to the campus. Willis says they lost their school officer to another district about two years ago. Willis says they’ve also asked the Granger Police Department to help with more patrols around the campus.

Burnet CISD announced Thursday it is the first school district in Texas to adopt and deploy the “Say Something” program and app.

It’s a free, gun-violence prevention and training program — from Sandy Hook Promise. Students in grades 6 through 12 are taught how to look for warning signs, signal and threats, especially on social media, for someone who may be a threat to themselves or others.

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