DES MOINES, Iowa — Officials in central Iowa emphasized on Friday that the nationwide threats made on social media against schools were not at all credible and that schools worked hard to make sure everyone was protected.
Thursday, the Iowa Department of Public Safety said no credible threats were reported toward any Iowa schools. Posts shared to social media warned about the possibility of nationwide shootings or bomb threats, dubbing Friday, Dec. 17 as "American School Shooting Day."
On Friday, DPS said no credible threats of immediate action were received by the state's Division of Intelligence.
"There are quite a few concerns, because of social media threats that are being made and the posts that are occurring, school districts have worked very hard to make sure that they have policies and procedures in place to ensure that there are protocols for staff to follow," said Iowa State Education Association President Mike Beranek.
"It's hard as parents, the threat exists every single day," said Sarah Trone Garriott, a West Des Moines schools parent and state senator for the suburb. "This day is not unique for American parents who send their children to school, there's always a threat of gun violence."
Des Moines Public Schools Communications Director Phil Roeder said he wants students to know no matter how a threat is posed it will have consequences.
"The online world can have consequences. just like the physical world, that making a threat is making a threat. no matter if you do it face to face with somebody, or if you do it through TikTok, or Snapchat, or any other social media platform, those things can have consequences," he said. "It can mean legal consequences, it could mean academic consequences in terms of school discipline."
For Trone Garriott, she wants people to the understand the consequences don't just fall on the people posing the threat.
"This morning, right before we were getting the kids off to school, we got a message that that field trip had been canceled and it's really disappointing that our kids have sacrificed so much over this pandemic and that they keep missing out on important events and fun experiences. Because we don't have a safe community for our children," she said.
WATCH | Schools teach 'digital citizenship' to keep students safe from online predators, misinformation