By LYNETTE HAALAND
Four Points News
Extra police patrols were at Vandegrift High School on Monday after two threats alluding to violence were made on social media.
The first post was made on Snapchat on Sunday, according to Leander ISD officials. The post that was apparently the original, showed a male Vandegrift student holding what looked like a large firearm horizontally across his chest.
“I’m proud of our kids who knew about this, they took the initiative and got involved and they immediately reported this,” said Charlie Little, principal at VHS. Sometimes kids know about threats like this and don’t share with the proper authorities, he added.
“I’m proud of the sheriff’s department. The minute we let them know, they were on it,” Little said.
While police did not identify a credible threat Sunday, a similar statement was posted on Snapchat on Monday morning.
“Police are continuing to investigate the issue after similar statements were made online (Monday) morning. Still no indication of any credible threat and school continues to operate as normal,” said Terry Abbott, chief communications officer at LISD.
Travis County Sheriff’s Office increased its presence at Vandegrift on Monday with two or three additional officers from what it normally has.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we increased our presence and we responded to a report that there was a threat made against the school,” said Kristin Dark, TCSO’s spokesperson. “We investigated the threat and found it not to be credible, and don’t believe students in any danger.”
By midday on Monday it was back to business as usual at VHS, Dark said.
VHS’s Little sent notes to parents on Sunday evening and Monday morning about the developments.
First letter to parents, Sunday night, after first statement posted to social media
April 9, 2017
Over the weekend, we had anonymous alerts, as well as direct communications from students/parents reporting concerns about a social media posting that displayed a student in possession of some weapons and other items.
Understandably, this issue was immediately investigated. A detective was dispatched to the student’s home, and the situation was evaluated as part of our standard threat assessment protocol.
At this time, we have been advised by law enforcement that there is no credible threat to our staff or students. However, the social media machine will continue to churn on this issue and may cause unnecessary anxiety for our students. If your student has additional concerns or questions about their safety, please refer them to our administrative team or their school counselor and we will provide the appropriate support.
I am extremely grateful for the staff, parents and students who were proactive and shared this concern with us so we could promptly address the issue.
Second letter to parents, after a similar statement posted to social media Monday morning
April 10, 2017
I would like to update you on the issue I discussed in last night’s Insider message.
We continue to receive questions and concerns regarding the statements of a threatening nature in reference to Vandegrift High School that were posted in social media yesterday and again this morning. As is the case any time we receive such information, we notified law enforcement authorities immediately after learning of these online statements, and we continue to work closely with authorities today. The school day is underway as normal at VHS and all is well.
Law enforcement authorities continue their investigation of this matter, and be assured that as school administrators we always follow the professional guidance of law enforcement on these issues. The safety of students and staff is always our number one priority.
LISD’s Abbott adds that the district stays involved with these types of situations.
“District officials always are informed and help to work closely with public safety officials in any matter like this. The principal and school leadership also always are closely involved,” Abbott said.
VHS’s Little understands that sometimes parents want more information but he is thankful that parents have been understanding because he cannot tell them everything they want to know.