District Has no Tolerance for Threatening Social Media Posts

A number of the district's middle schools and high schools received reports of potentially threatening social media posts in recent weeks, part of a national upswing in menacing postings online.

The district worked diligently with the Fresno Police Department to zero in on the source of the posts, working with school sites and keeping parents informed.

The Fresno Police Department spent significant resources investigating each report, and while the posts were all proven to be unsubstantiated, they were extremely harmful and arrests were made.

In October, three ninth grade students were arrested for three separate incidents and as investigations continue, there will likely be more arrests. Three other students were arrested for similar incidents in other Fresno County school districts.

While social media is beneficial in many ways, it can be a dangerous tool when used improperly by students who do not understand the consequences of their postings.

"Fresno Unified and the Fresno Police Department want students and parents to know that making false social media threats is a serious matter, and is considered a criminal offense," said Superintendent Michael Hanson. "Making such threats can result in suspensions, expulsions and arrests."

It's important to remind young people that if they see a potential threatening online post, they should not join in on the conversation or repost, but instead, report it immediately to an adult.

The district is encouraging parents and members of the community to take time to speak to students and ensure they understand how to be safe while posting to social media, and that they understand the consequences as well.

Hanson was in continual contact with Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer over the issue and the district and police department worked together to get to the root of the posts and hold those who created the posts responsible.

The collaboration on this issue was just one example of the beneficial partnership the district has with the Fresno Police Department.

While the posts were frightening to students, parents and staff, the Fresno Unified Board of Education has made substantial investments in the safety of its campuses, including having safety resource officers at all high schools and student neighborhood resource officers at middle schools.

This investment has enabled the district to address these issues quickly, initiating investigations and determining their lack of credibility.