After a possible threat against Maricopa Wells Middle School, parents are being cautioned by Maricopa Unified School District and Maricopa Police Department to talk with their kids about making social media threats.

The administration posted on its site: “Our district is committed to the safety and education of all our students, and we want to clearly communicate with parents about safety issues when they arise. Recently, a student reported a concerning social media message about a threat to Maricopa Wells Middle School to take place on January 30th.  School and District officials are working with the Maricopa Police Department to investigate and out of an abundance of caution, there will be an increased police presence while the investigation continues.”

School will be in session as usual on Wednesday.

MUSD asked parents to talk with their kids about the consequences of posting messages that could be interpreted as threatening.

MPD offered further tips on what to do if such a message is found on social media: “You need to notify authorities, but we ask that you please do not share or forward the threat until we have had a chance to investigate. This can spread misinformation and cause panic, and possibly expose you to legal consequences, depending on the situation.”

Emphasizing that a threat over social media, email or text is a federal crime, MPD reminded parents those making the threats can receive up to five years in prison.

“In addition to consequences for individuals who issue threats, there is also a significant societal cost. Law enforcement agencies have limited resources, and responding to hoax threats diverts officers and costs taxpayers,” the MPD post continues. “The threats can also cause severe emotional distress to students, school personnel, and parents.”

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