Philly School District sends notice to families in the Northeast, warning of threats of violence on social media against Brazilian students
The notice, sent by the district’s Office of School Safety, said it had received reports of threats circulating on social media platforms, including WhatsApp.
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A notice from the School District of Philadelphia’s Office of School Safety to families in the Northeast that first appeared online on Tuesday, April 18, and was sent out on Wednesday, April 19, warned of threats circulating on social media platforms, including WhatsApp, “encouraging violence against Brazilian students in schools on Thursday, April 20,” reads part of the message.
“Please know that we take each and every threat directed towards our schools and members of our school community seriously,” it continues. “Our Office of School Safety works with law enforcement agencies to closely monitor the situation, actively assess any threats to our schools, and respond immediately as needed to help keep our schools, students and staff safe.”
The notice was sent in both English and Portuguese and no specific social media post was identified.
AL DÍA obtained a copy of the notice through email and when reached for comment, School District Spokesperson Monique Braxton confirmed its validity and said it was sent after the district received a warning from the Philadelphia Police Department.
According to Braxton, the department had been monitoring social media platforms over the past couple weeks for threats.
When reached by AL DÍA, the police department offered few additional details other than that it was working alongside the school district “to investigate the situation.”
“The School District’s Office of School Safety is supporting the Philadelphia Police Department,” said Braxton on behalf of the school district.
She also said that the district will often send notices of potential violence around this time of year, as April 20 is the anniversary of the mass shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado in 1999. It’s spawned many copycats over the 24 years since the tragedy.
No specific school was mentioned in the notice, but it did tell parents to call 911 in the event of any immediate threat to their child’s school. Non-immediate threats were to be shared with individual school leaders or directed to the Office of School Safety at 215-400-6000 or [email protected]. Anonymous tips can be made by calling 215-400-SAFE.
“Posting threatening language on social media is not taken lightly,” reads another part of the notice. “While incidents like this may seem like a funny prank, these are federal and state offenses that can lead to criminal charges."