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Parents react to social media threats against city high schools

The reaction on social media from parents about the school threats varied from anger to concern, others defending the district and authorities for their actions.

Posted: Oct 22, 2021 7:51 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Parents were running to area high schools to pull their kids from class out of concern after several threats on social media Friday.

The reaction on social media from parents about the school threats varied from anger to concern, others defending the district and authorities for their actions.

Parents and students worried Friday after Central High School received shooting threats.

“I was pretty shocked,” student Gregory Baugh said.

"It's scary as a parent to know that your kid is supposed to be at school learning and now all of a sudden there's a kid hiding somewhere trying to shoot people. It's scary as a parent,” parent Leslie Baugh said. "He texted me, and then I got the phone call from the school."

Parents rushed to district high schools to pull their kids out of school.

“The phones are ringing and people are wanting to know and some are checking their kids out. We are handling it and dealing with it as best we can,” St. Joseph School District Superintendent Dr. Doug Van Zyl said.

Worries heightened because this was the second threat made to the school in two days. On top of an avalanche of rumors.

“My friend texted me yesterday and said there was a kid running around in the school trying to shoot people and I was pretty scared for my other friends too,” Gregory said.

Each of the rumors investigated by authorities and school officials turned out to be false, but it doesn't make them any less scary.
"People need to know that it's not okay and we are going to continue to deal with it and make sure that we move forward,” Van Zyl said.

It also doesn't mean they aren't taking them seriously.

Even with social media, school threats are becoming a national trend.

"We have to investigate it take everything seriously. Sometimes kids are trying to get attention or somebody's trying to get attention and try to get out of school and so it's a balancing act. There is no perfect solution to this and we hope people understand that we are doing everything we can to keep everybody safe and healthy and the situation manageable with our help from our law enforcement folks,” Van Zyl said.

Trend or not, it's clear authorities, the district, and parents want the individuals making threats to stop.

“I hope they catch the kids or whoever is making threats. Let's get this over with and get back to normal life. Let's let the kids get back to school and let the worry go bye-bye,” Leslie said.

The superintendent says he's aware that it's a growing national trend where students are making school threats on social media.

He says that a threat is a threat and authorities and the district will treat each as one.

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It was a pleasant start to the weekend with sunny skies and temperatures reaching the mid 60s. A cold front moving through the area will bring us down into the 30s for lows overnight with gusty winds up to 20 mph. This will keep our highs in the 50s on Sunday under mostly sunny skies with mild winds from the southwest. Temperatures will quickly start to warm up again on Monday with highs in the mid 60s. Rain chances look to stay minimal into next week. Temperatures are forecasted to stay above average for the first day of December on Wednesday.
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