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Social media threat targeting Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy in Denver deemed not credible

Social media threat targeting Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy in Denver deemed not credible
Posted at 5:35 PM, Oct 27, 2022

DENVER — Dozens of parents gathered outside of the Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy in Denver Thursday as a social media threat quickly spread throughout the school.

Students and staff were placed under a lockout as a precaution, and authorities deemed the threat not credible. But before that was communicated to parents, many pulled their children from class.

A shooting threat made on Snapchat quickly spread throughout the school, with parents pulling their children from class as a precaution.

"We have no idea from the school whether we should pick up our children," said Tamara Matthews, who picked up her child early. "We just decided to come to the school and try to figure it out ourselves."

Incidents like these have occurred at least seven times at Denver Public Schools campuses this year — a social media threat causes panic among parents and students, and is deemed not credible.

Ken Trump, president of National School Safety and Security Services, blames social media.

"Many years ago, school administrators would get the threat investigated along with police, find out who was behind it and send a note home to parents," Trump said. "Today, they have parents on the doorsteps calling the office and ready to pull their children out of school before the administrators themselves have a full grasp of what even occurred."

According to Trump, school officials need to come up with a game plan to address this challenge.

"School officials need to have not only threat assessment team training and protocols to manage the threat investigation, but also crisis communication plans and social media strategies to get out accurate information in a timely way to parents," he said.

Last week, the state released its annual Safe2Tell report for the 2021-22 school year, which shows threats of various kinds made against schools are on the rise in Colorado. From August 1, 2021, to July 31, 2022, Safe2Tell received more than 19,000 reports, and 97% of them were found to be valid.

While it is a 70% increase from the year before, it is just below pre-pandemic levels, when more than 20,000 reports were made between 2018 and 2019.