Social media is the primary platform for people, including children to create, share, and exchange information. That includes harmful messages and dangerous threats.
“Children as young as 12 years old have access to online, and even younger,” said Benjamin Guitron, Public Information Officer, Indio Police Department.
Multiple social media postings on TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook are circulating nationwide of potential threats at schools across the country, including here in the Coachella Valley.
On Friday, Palm Springs police investigated reports of a local student re-posting the possible threat with a picture of himself holding an airsoft rifle.
Law enforcement did not discover any immediate dangers to any valley schools and they determined no crime was committed by the student, but they say these posts are not a joke. They ask that any threat shared be immediately reported to a trusted official.
“We take every single threat seriously and we investigate all of them,” said Mary Perry, Public Information Officer, Desert Sands Unified School District. “This is no exception.”
“Regardless of what it is, bring it to someone’s attention,” said Guitron. “When it deals with safety, please don’t ignore it. Please bring it to the attention of authorities.”
Officials also say parents need to be involved in their children’s social media.
“You have to consciously monitor them. You, as a parent or guardian, have the responsibility to monitor what your children are involved,” said Guitron. “And your children also need to know when they’re online… make sure they’re careful in what they’re doing.”
Whether credible or not, threats can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety for students, families, and staff. Officials encourage parents to talk with their children about the dangers of sharing posts online from unknown sources and participating in social media trends. They say we all play a role in ensuring the safety of our community.
“We can take steps to make sure we do the best we can (to be safe),” said Guitron. “The faculty, the students, the parents, the guests, the vendors, anyone that has any relationship that works with the school has responsibility.”
“The safety of our students and our staff- that’s our number one priority,” said Perry.