MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County Schools announced Wednesday that the district will be taking steps to stop a rise in threats made on social media.
SCS was joined by the Memphis Police Department, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI and the Secret Service to make a blatant statement about how seriously they’re all taking recent threats against students.
SCS claims it’s had a rash of threats against schools in the last few weeks, saying its found at least five to six posted on social media. Although no arrests have been made, the threats are damaging.
“It has a tremendous impact on student attendance,” SCS superintendent Joris Ray said. “Of course, that correlates to academic achievement. We need students in school every day.”
The district said it’s addressing bullying in classrooms every day, but it also wants to help teachers identify bullies and at-risk students to help prevent problems from escalating.
“The goal of these assessments is to identify at-risk students of concern, assess the risk of engaging in violence or other harmful activities and identifying prevention strategies to manage the risk,” said Zach Rogers with the Secret Service.
The FBI and Secret Service often join forces with MBD and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office to investigate threats. They explained that hours of investigation go into every threat made against a student or school, regardless of the suspect’s age or intent.
“When individuals bully to the point where it disrupts that, we get very active in the investigation very swiftly,” MPD Deputy Director Mike Ryall said.
Educators said like most problems involving minors, the solution can start at home, and they implored parents and students to help keep the district safe.
“We need to focus on instruction,” Ray said. “We want to be the best school district in the nation, and we need everyone to help us.”
If you are aware of a safety threat, the best thing to do is to call 911.
SCS sent the following information for anyone knows of a threat being made.
Students should not be afraid to share information about the safety of their school, classmates or, more importantly, themselves.
For any SCS parents or students that are concerned with a student’s safety or mental state: Contact the SCS offices at 901-416-5300. Text this number at any time: 274637 and start your text with “SCS.”