JCPS security officials say social media threats are growing problem

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - School shootings are what security officials fear most.

The 17-year-old gunman in Monday's school shooting in Ohio posted pictures of himself Sunday night on Twitter, holding guns, and at least one of his classmates said he also threatened to bring a gun to school.

"It's a problem," said JCPS security director Stan Mullen. Mullen told WAVE 3 News, threats on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are not only a growing challenge for his staff but sometimes the threats can be a difficult call for the person's friends or followers. For example, some classmates described Ohio teen shooter T. J. Lane as nice and quiet.

"If they saw him on Twitter with a gun and heard comments from him," Mullen explained, "they probably thought he was joking, so you never know and you have to take it all seriously."

In Jefferson County, Mullen said, every threat will be investigated, and school officials continually encourage students and staff to report everything.

"We're not going to come back and say, 'You gave us some bad information or some false information,'" Mullen continued. "We're going to take it serious, and if it turns out that it's not a threat, then that's fine. We were just glad to find out about it so we could look into it."

Mullen said even if Lane didn't tell his friends he was bringing a gun to school, Twitter photos like those in the Ohio case would be investigated here if brought to officials' attention.

Mullen said JCPS officials would question why a juvenile would even have access to guns, and there's a good chance the student would never get near the school. "We will stop them before they get onto the bus and talk to them, search them and make sure it's not in the backpack."

Mullen also said if they find out who's behind a threat, that person can be prosecuted.

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