EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Law enforcement agencies from across El Paso, including the County Attorney and District Attorney offices, showed a united front during a press conference to warn families about the consequences they face if a family member threatens a school.
The agencies have seen an increase in these threats made to schools, particularly those made on social media. El Paso school districts say they see at least three threats a day. The El Paso County Attorney-Juvenile Trial Team Chief Emily Dawson says her office will take action against any juveniles who make these threats.
“My office does not downgrade these offenses; you make a threat against a school and it’s referred into us by law enforcement. We will charge it as a state jail felony,” Dawson said.
While the juveniles will face consequences, including remaining in custody until the case is completed, District Attorney Bill Hicks warns that parents can face jail time as well, even seven days after the incident. They can face up to one year in prison and a $4,000 fine if they allow easy access to a weapon to their child and if they, in turn, use that weapon to harm others.
“We want to emphasize that we’re very serious about prosecuting parents who make a firearm available to a child and that child does something with that firearm and then also adults who take firearms onto school campuses,” Hicks said.
While police say that they will investigate every threat made to schools whether it’s a real threat or a hoax, they want the public to know that a non-legitimate threat takes law enforcement away from other emergencies in the area.
However if you are a parent who’s child shares information of a school threat, El Paso Police are asking them not to share it to their peers and contact them immediately.
“One of the biggest problems we have is sharing these threats with your peers or family members if you think it’s credible and you feel that someone is in danger. The best way to do that is to call law enforcement whether it’s an FBI tip line whether its our tip line or the non-emergency line,” said Sgt. Robert Gomez, with the El Paso Police Department.
The number to contact if you do have information to text police at 847-411 or call the nonemergency number at (915) 832-4400.
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