DALLAS, Texas — Satanic graffiti and multiple bomb threats plagued schools in East Texas resulting in an arrest related to the threatening graffiti, forced evacuations, and heightened security on several campuses the week of November 3.
First, on Tuesday, November 4, Brownsboro Independent School District (ISD) officials in Henderson County reported that a high school student was arrested and charged in connection withgraffiti containing threatening statements, KYTX-19 reported.
School and law enforcement officials were made aware of disconcerting graffiti on a boy’s bathroom stall at Brownsboro High School on Tuesday afternoon and investigated the matter. Then, on Wednesday, the high school student was detained at the beginning of the school day and questioned. He was then charged with a terrorist threat on a public entity, which is a third degree felony. He has since been transported to the Henderson County Jail.
A photo of the graffiti was even posted on Facebook, according to KYTX-19, although they acknowledged that they were unable to verify its authenticity.
Meanwhile, KLTV-7 reported the graffiti depicted a pentagram and such phrases as “I will sacrifice 10 students” and “Satan is God”.
Brownsboro ISD police acted swiftly. School district Superintendent Dr. Christopher Moran told KLTV-7, “The safety of our students is our highest priority and this timely response reinforces my confidence in the individuals and safety of our campuses.
Brownsboro parents received pre-recorded messages apprising them of events. Moran told KLTV, the local ABC news affiliate, that they didn’t want to create alarm, although they needed to “give information to help ease anxiety and fear” for parents.
KLTV also reported that the district added extra security measures to reassure parents and students of their safety throughout the remainder of the week.
On Wednesday, November 5, neighboring Athens, Tyler and Frankston school districts, police departments received calls saying there was a bomb located on some of their campuses. This unusual turn of events left the community, students, and parents shocked and concerned.
KYTX-19 noted that the first of the threats came into Athens ISD that morning. The Athens Police Department got a call that “there was a bomb at every campus in the district,” according to the news outlet.
Students were evacuated to safe locations off-campus around the city, including local churches and community centers. Even though an all clear was given, Athens ISD chose to cancel school for the remainder of the day. KYTX-19 reported that parents were called by the district to pick up their children.
Parent Matt Wood also spoke to KYTX and told them he found it “reassuring” to hear from the school district, get information on what was happening and being to know both where to get his children and take them home.
Athens ISD has since re-opened their campuses. While they were closed, the district posted an online message of appreciation to its families that read: “Parents of all Athens ISD students, thank you so much for your patience and understanding in dealing with Wednesday’s bomb threat. All of our campuses have been thoroughly swept. Students will be able to return tomorrow morning at the usual time to safe and secure campuses.”
The next bomb threat came into Frankston High School in Frankston ISD on the same day.
According to the Palestine-Herald, the district swiftly issued this written information tofamilies: “Parents, your students are safe. There has been a bomb threat to the High School. The High School has been evacuated. The authoritieshave been notified. The school district is on lock down for the safety of our child. Further information will be given as soon as possible.”
Still, the “not-knowing” rattled most everyone’s nerves. In Athens ISD, a high school student told KYTX, “I was really scared.” She didn’t know what was going on nor did the teachers tell the students anything about the bomb threats.
One student’s mother, Danae Oglesby, was glad that the students didn’t know. She said it made the scene less chaotic.
In neighboring Cherokee County, KCEN-TV reported that Jacksonville High School was also targeted. School officials issued this statement:
“Unfortunately, a bomb threat was called in to Jacksonville High School late this afternoon. It is our understanding that multiple bomb threats have been reported today across the East Texas area, and JISD takes very seriously any threat of this nature. We immediately re-routed buses to begin pick-ups at JHS and students and staff were evacuated. Every effort to ensure the safety and security of students and faculty has been taken, and the campus is being searched and secured. Classes are expected to resume at regular time tomorrow. Should any further developments arise, JISD will use the automated call-out system to alert parents and staff.”
All affected campuses are back open. Although it appears they are unrelated incidents, it remains unclear if there is any connection between the Brownsboro High School student’s threatening graffiti and the subsequent bomb threats at East Texas school campuses.
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom