In an automated phone call late Wednesday night, the Houston Independent School District alerted parents to an email the district received earlier that night threatening violence across school campuses.
The threatening email, which, according to the Houston Chronicle, district officials do not believe to be credible, follows similar threats of violence against school districts in Los Angeles and New York City on Tuesday, threats that officials ultimately called hoaxes.
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In the phone call to parents Wednesday night, the district said schools would remain open Thursday but that “as a precautionary measure, law enforcement officers are currently conducting random sweeps of school district buildings to ensure student safety.” District officials say additional police offices will be on patrol Thursday morning.
While New York’s schools remained open on Tuesday, the superintendent of Los Angeles schools cancelled classes for the day—in part because a mass shooting just occurred some 60 miles east of the city in San Bernadino.
At least some HISD campuses have already been talking about potential threats with parents in light of the San Bernadino rampage, which killed 14 people and wounded 22 others. As we reported last week, one HISD police officer showed parents a slideshow of “radical Islamist tattoos” during a “Coffee With the Principal” meeting last Thursday morning. The officer told parents that they should consider calling the police if they ever overheard someone with a tattoo speaking Arabic, according to one incensed parent who told us about the meeting. (According to HISD's website, district-wide, "Arabic is the second most common foreign language spoken at home.")
School and law enforcement officials investigating the threatening email that was sent on Wednesday won't yet divulge any details about the message due to the pending investigation. A statement posted to the district’s website Wednesday night reads: “HISD asks parents and students to be vigilant Thursday morning and report any suspicious activity to police."