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Possible social media threats to schools have become a weekly issue in some districts

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Possible social media threats to schools have become a weekly issue in some districts (Photo: KUTV FILE)

This weekend, Toeele was just the most recent school district to investigate possible threats, though they were determined to not be credible.

This year alone, schools in Roosevelt, West Jordan, Tooele and Salt Lake City have all dealt with threats made on social media.

Officials with the Tooele County School District said in the past two months, they've dealt with potential social media threats on a weekly basis — and they're not alone.

"Salt Lake City police receive multiple threats per week at various schools throughout the city," said Sgt. Keith Horracks of the Salt Lake City Police Department.

And, he said these threats start younger than you might think. His department has investigated potential threats made by students from elementary school through high school.

Every reported threat has to be investigated, and in most cases Snapchat can't release information without a warrant or court order. According to Snapchat's own data, in the first six months of 2019 alone, Snapchat received more than 10,000 criminal legal requests in the United States.

Weekly investigations mean using police resources to try and track down the origin of the threat and figure out how credible it is.

"That all takes investigation. Depending on the threat, and how serious it is, our reaction times are different," Horracks said.

Many of these threats or rumors turn out to not be credible, but parents like Ruby Brown say it’s still scary.

"I have a niece at home. She's 14, so it always worries me," Brown said.

When a kid is caught making a threat, they can face misdemeanor charges all the way up to felonies depending on the situation. But Salt Lake City police officers say parents can help prevent the problem by talking to their kids.

Brown agreed, saying, "I know a lot of kids don't take these things serious, and they make these threats not knowing the implications they could have...I think kids need to know they have to take these serious no matter what. If you know them or not, or what you think it might be...it is serious no matter what."

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