Gwinnett County Public Schools is partnering with the FBI to decrease and prevent instances of students making hoax threats, the district announced.
The new partnership is part of the FBI’s “Think Before You Post” campaign, designed to educate students and the public about the consequences of posting hoax threats against schools and other places online. Those kinds of threats can sometimes lead to evacuations, lockdowns or students staying home from school out of fear. They can also lead to criminal charges for the people making the threats.
Gwinnett County Public Schools has experienced an increase in false threats, mostly on social media, the district said in a press release. Most of the threats come from high school students, but the district has noted an increase in the number of middle schoolers making online threats.
“Immaturity and lack of social media oversight lead some teens to make threats or say things that are perceived by others as threatening,” the district said in a release. “Many do not understand that their online comments can lead to major consequences.”
In the FBI’s “Think Before You Post” campaign, begun in May, the bureau partners with state and local law enforcement as well as school districts to educate students about what constitutes a threat — including texts, emails and social media posts — and what the consequences are.
In Georgia, making a threat against a school could lead to state and federal charges. Last year, a 16-year-old South Gwinnett High School student was charged with making terroristic threats in February. That student allegedly shared a video showing him putting a clip in a gun and threatening his school.
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