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School threats impact resources for the district and police

Since Tuesday morning, threats have been made against seven Colorado schools. One local school communications officer talks about how important it is to investigate them and how many are still hoaxes or - frustratingly - jokes.
Jefferson County School District Chief Communications Officer Diana Wilson makes phone calls related to a threat at Bear Creek High School.

When a school threat is made within Jefferson County Schools, a flurry of activity begins within the district including from Chief Communications Officer Diana Wilson.

"Actually, my day started last night," Wilson said. "About 11, we got notification of reports coming in about a threat."

That threat was at Bear Creek High School which is one of at least seven schools around Colorado that have received threats since Tuesday morning. In Sedgwick County, a student was taken into custody after investigators say he asked another student on social media if he wanted to shoot up the school.

Wednesday morning, Lakewood Police arrested a 17-year-old boy after investigators say he made "general threats" towards the school. Tuesday, a 16-year-old boy was arrested at Dakota RIdge HIgh School after he posted a threat on social media. Investigators say he told them he was just joking.

"The ones where people think it's funny, that's very frustrating and when people take any of them and start creating making the story bigger than it is, that's very frustrating," Wilson said.

Since the horrific high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Wilson said Jefferson County alone has received eight different school threats.

"I have been pretty busy along with everybody else whether that's our legal team, our security staff," Wilson said.

She has been drafting letters to school communities, fielding questions from parents, coordinating with police, while also managing district wide notifications on these threats trying to dispel rumors spread via social media.

"It's really, really tough and it's also hard to explain to parents that all I can relay is factual information," Wilson said.

This is hour after hour of work caused by something that in the end usually isn't true.

"I guess to the kids that are making poor decisions my first thing is you're scaring people and there's nothing funny about that," WIlson said.

Yet, WIlson said all threats have to be taken seriously.

"You know people are scared," Wilson said. "People are scared and we understand that."

But as frustrating as these fake threats are, Wilson said, at least they are fake.

"Absolutely, I would deal with these all day and night if you could guarantee me our kids weren't truly at risk," Wilson said.

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