The Mobile Police Department says it received numerous reports of potential threats at multiple high schools in the city on Friday, as well as the evening of Thursday, February 22. Officials say officers have worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of everyone at these campuses, and have arrested two students.
According to authorities, a 14-year-old girl was arrested for disorderly conduct for her role in perpetuating fear on social media in regards to threats at Davidson High School. Additionally, a 16-year-old boy was arrested for making a terrorist threat for a social media post that resulted in Williamson High School going into lockdown.
Investigators tell us there were threats going around at Davidson, Blount, Baker, Theodore, Murphy, Williamson, Causey Middle, and McGill Toolen, but there was never actually any danger to the students.
Officials are asking citizens to not perpetuate rumors on social media and to allow the Mobile Police Department to follow up on any potential threats without the spread of fear from these rumors.
Parent Roshanna Russell, whose son goes to Blount High School, kept her son home from school Friday because of a threat circulating there.
"I think it's insane and it's ridiculous that we can't send our kids to school and be safe without the threat of another child...I would prefer to keep him home for a day rather than him not to come home at all."
Investigators discovered that threat started a thousand miles away in New Mexico.
Mobile Police officers spent the day on several local campuses just in case. We're told this increase in school threats is part of a national problem, stemming from the tragedy of the Douglas High School shooting in Florida.
Public Safety Director James Barber says investigators received more than 200 tips Thursday night alone, that eventually led to the teens arrests. He says each threat is taken extremely seriously, and they have the technology to find the person behind the keyboard.
"This is really a heightened sense of awareness from parents and students because of what happened in South Florida and so the reality to not take for granted that a kid is bragging or claiming something that they are not going to do, even though 99.9% of the time that is the case," said Barber. "It's not funny to us, it's not funny to other students and we can't take that kind of joking. it is a criminal offense and they are prosecuted."
In a release on Friday, officials said, "any real threat will be acted upon to the fullest extent of the law. Those found to be starting false threats will also be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and could be held liable for the cost of investigating those complaints."
Earlier this week, a Foley Middle School student was also arrested for making a terroristic threat.
Barber says he can't stress enough how important it is for parents to monitor what their children do on social media. The Mobile Police Department says if anyone sees or hears of potential threats, "it is important that you report the threat to the proper authorities, either school administration and or the police."