Social media threats: The severity and consequences

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - A threat on social media can have the same consequences as walking into a school with a gun.

Savannah Police and SCCPSS Police say while kids might think social media threats are jokes, there's nothing funny about the legal trouble they face.

At least eight schools in the Savannah area have had threats since the Parkland shooting just a little over a week ago. These include Swainsboro High School, Savannah High, Arthur Williams Middle School, Hilton Head Island Middle School, New Hampstead High School, Groves High School, Savannah Arts Academy, and Savannah Classical Academy. Nothing came out of these threats, and no-one was hurt, but law enforcement officers took every one of them seriously.

"It can't be that they're just a kid because it's dangerous and nobody knows who is capable of doing what," says Dion Hurley, a Savannah Police Juvenile Officer. "If you do it, be prepared for the consequences because you're probably going to get arrested for it. Regardless of how much of a joke or prank you thought it was, it's a terroristic threat."

Police have found threats on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and even written messages on bathroom walls. No matter the type, campus police say they always act immediately.

"You always err on the side of caution. Our campus police has a program, 'See something, Say something." says Sheila Blanco, Public Information Manager for SCCPSS.

Who you tell first is critical. Police say in the case of a lockdown, students should listen to the authorities on the scene. Nobody else knows the full situation - not even mom and dad.

"Obviously, your instinct as a parent is to tell your child to either hide or get out of there right away, but the teacher may know there is something else going on in the hallway and the student can't go anywhere," Blanco said.

Police say the same goes for reporting threats. Call police immediately. By the time you go through your parents, it might be too late.

"Get to the source, tell the facts, and tell it to somebody that can make a difference and do something about it at the school," Hurley said.

See something, say something, and police guarantee they will do something.

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