Killeen student arrested for making school threats

KILLEEN, TX - A 12-year-old girl is accused of making several serious threats against students at Killeen schools. 

Police say students and parents shared her social media posts, which increased the fear of an attack.

"[There is] A lot of fear in the district the last couple of days because of this young lady and what she did," says Killeen ISD Chief Communications Officer Terry Abbott.

Killeen Police took the 12-year-old Roy J. Smith middle school student into custody on Tuesday night on accusations of terroristic threats.

Abbott continues, "We only know that she made threats against other kids, and that these things were taken seriously. And so, she's in the County Juvenile Detention Facility right now."

Abbott says the threats were so awful and violent, parents and kids feared for their lives.

"She scared some of our parents and some of our kids to death. I mean she scared them. We had a lot of kids taken out of school or kept home because of this fear. It was a complete disruption to the learning environment," Abbott continues. 

Psychologist Richard Connell says kids may make these threats to get attention from their peers.

"You know, it could be a cry for help. The child is unhappy about their home life - for a really extreme of attention-seeking behavior. Or it could be a suggestion of something more serious going on in terms of a behavioral health issue," Connell says.

Putting these threats on social media platforms is what makes these threats worse.

Abbott says, "Social media has amplified this. It's not just the original threat. It's that it's picked up and shared by so many parents and so many kids who are rightfully concerned."

Connell says, "Sort of the whole purpose or point of social media to kind of gain attention."

Both Abbott and Connell advise parents to talk to their children about the dangers of spreading these kinds of threats.

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