School threat numbers increasing in Texoma

WHITESBORO, Tex. (KXII) -- Two school threats were made just this week.

A Whitesboro Middle School student was suspended for the rest of the year, and in Hugo all schools shut down for a day.

Those are just two of many threats we've told you about in Texas and Oklahoma in the past year.

Friday night Anna Police confirmed they investigated comments made by students that were overheard by a teacher. They determined no student was in danger.

In Whitesboro Thursday, a student made comments in the hallway leading him to spend the rest of the year suspended at an alternative school.

"Where it rises to the level where it actually causes people to be in fear for their lives, fear of imminent danger, that's when it crosses the line," said Denison Police Lt. Mike Eppler.

Eppler said if a threat is made related to a schoo, that can be a felony charge if they're over 10 years old.

"I don't think they realize sometimes when they say these things just how much trouble they can get into and what the consequences really are," Eppler said.

In just the past year and a half, we've reported on 10 school threats made throughout Texoma.

December alone, two at Van Alstyne Middle School and students arrested at Gainesville and Denison High Schools.

In October, a Denison 9th grader arrested for threatening a school shooting.

August, threats made at a school in Ada and another in Sulphur.

And February in Sherman, a Piner Middle School student arrested for a felony after a rumor spread about a school shooting.

"The quicker we can educate our students and our children to speak up to protect themselves, to protect their peers, the better they will be in any of these situations," said Whitesboro ISD Superintendent Ryan Harper.

Harper said they don't believe the Thursday threat to be credible, but called for extra police presence on campus the next day.

"Some comments were overheard in the hallway from another student," Harper said.

He said when this happens, the student's social and home life, internet history and conversations with other students are all investigated.

He said teachers are trained on how to respond if something were to actually happen and to monitor student's behavior.

"You don't have that grip to make sure that they're going to be okay. Because you know that's all that any parent wants to do is to protect their child," said Patricia Rodriguez, who has a son at Howe High School.

She said a threat to her child is a threat to her.

"That's all you can do is pray. If you're not there with your child, you're not going to be with them 24/7. Just pray," Rodriguez said.

In all the threats we've reported on in the last year, no weapons or devices were found and no one was hurt.

Most of the time, police tell us the threats are not credible.

Harper said students need to report anything suspicious immediately.