BA parents upset after social media threat

Posted at 6:25 PM, Jan 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-28 19:25:55-05

Some parents say they're frustrated by how Broken Arrow Public Schools handled the threat of a possible shooting on Thursday.

But the district says they wanted to make sure they worked with police on investigating social media posts before informing parents.

Superintendent Dr. Jarod Mendenhall and police both say a credible threat was never present on campus. But they say it was the rapid growth of rumors online that made informing the public difficult Thursday morning.

It all started with a text message posted online, a threat that spread through the Broken Arrow student body like wildfire.

“A threat is not an imaginary item. A threat is real,” said parent Josh Stenros.

By the time Stenros says he learned of the threat, his high schooler was already in class. She left soon after, but he says the district's timing was terrible.

“From my understanding, the threat was made a couple of days ago, so in my mind, that's a little bit worse,” he said.

Dr. Mendenhall confirmed Thursday the district was aware of the posts earlier in the week, but he says they're not credible.

“I look at these situations just like I would as a father,” said Mendenhall. “And I'm going to tell you right now, if I had any inkling or problem with students being in harm's way or thought they'd be in harm's way, trust me, they'd not be in school.”

He says the posts started spreading online from students and even adults, and that's when panic set in.

“There's immediate information out there everywhere,” he said. “You're talking 3,700 students on campus. So if you're going to put something out, you want to make sure your information is accurate, it's correct.”

But parents say it's time to err on the side of caution when it comes to students.

“Any information is better than no information. And let the parents decide what's best for their own kids,” said Sternos.

Police say they will most likely press charges against the student. Meanwhile, the district says school is in session Friday and no excused absences for the threat will be given.