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Districts increase police presence amid recent school threats

The FBI says it's aware of the threats happening nationwide and follows up on every tip.
Posted at 9:48 PM, Apr 06, 2023

Multiple Oklahoma schools have received threats of violence in the past few days forcing them to increase police presence and provide extra reassurance to parents and staff.

The FBI says it’s aware of these threats happening nationwide and they are following up on every tip and investigating the credibility.

The Thursday morning school drop-off didn’t go as planned for one Tulsa mom and her children.

"We are taking a mental health day for my daughter. They were checking kids at Memorial Middle School, and it made her, and her friend have an anxiety attack. There have been stabbings on the bus that she usually takes, and you know all this stuff happening lately. It's been stressful,” said Tanya Jimenez.

She said all the recent threats of school violence are becoming extremely stressful, because her kids must have an education and their safety isn’t guaranteed.

“You never know when one could be real and when one's not, and there's a lot of kids that try to get at other kids by saying that have this or that too, so you never know if it's credible or a prank,” said Jimenez.

School-related threats have circulated at several Oklahoma schools this week, including Cleveland, Owasso and Collinsville.

In some cases, the threat has been determined to have been from a photo taken several years ago, and has made the rounds on social media causing concern in some schools beginning with the letter C.

“We just need to all come together and figure something out so these kids can live without the fear of going to school and the parents can send their kids to school and not worry about if this is the last day that they get to see their kids,” she said.

In a statement, the FBI says it’s aware of the recent threats saying in part:

'"The FBI is aware of the recent uptick in hoax threats directed toward schools. However, the FBI and our partners follow up on every tip we receive from the public and analyze and investigate all threats to determine their credibility."

“I feel so bad for all these parents that send their kids to school and they never get to see them again.

We need to come up with some real solutions and not just putting the blame on other people because our kids deserve better,” she said.

Faith Crittenden is the Senior Program Director for Children’s Mental Health for Family & Children’s Services.

Her team has therapists and youth care coordinators in Union, Jenks, Tulsa, and Broken Arrow school districts, and they provide ongoing mental health care to children in school settings.

She says it’s important to talk to your kids that if they see something, they must say something.

It’s important for parents to be proactive about those conversations and we must learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of anxiety before it gets out of control.

"Having those conversations, looking for those signs and symptoms. If kids are scared to go to school, if they are having a stomachache, if they are just talking about it often, they are probably thinking about it quite a bit and so I think we need to be proactive and talk, talk, talk. Remind our kids of the safety mechanisms that are in place that the schools must keep them safe every single day that they go,” said Crittenden.

Family & Children’s Services has a crisis team where they can go and consult with schools if they have ongoing needs to support their students who may be engaging in certain types of behavior.

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