HOUSTON — Many Houston Independent School District parents were alarmed Friday morning after administrators sent out an ambiguous message alerting families of a possible shooting threat on several schools. The district said extra officers have been assigned to patrol the area as a precautionary measure.
The HISD alert was sent out around 10 a.m. and included Holub, Grady and O’Donell middle schools; as well as, Elsik, Northside and Westside high schools. HISD issued the alert after finding a non-specific threat against its institutions and several others across the region on social media, the district said.
The threat was determined non-credible by HISD Police, administrators said. An employee with Northside High School and an HISD official told NewsFix the schools have been told to stay vigilant of any suspicious activity.
HISD has not identified the social media account that posted the threat, but a parent took a snapshot of an clown-themed Instagram account posted that listed the schools named in the HISD alert. The account has since been deleted.
After receiving a voicemail from the schools, the sister of a Northside High School parent tells NewFix several families rushed to the school to pick up students.
“The school was full of parents getting their kids,” Michelle Castillo said. “They were frustrated with the school and district because they hadn’t gotten official word from anyone at all about the shooting threat. They had to find out from their kids. The school sent out a voice mail message saying the school was on lock down, but didn’t go into detail as to why.”
Castillo is also a former-HISD employee. She said her sister, a friend and other HISD parents were notified about the threat after receiving messages from their kids saying their individual schools were on lock down.
The schools sent out a voicemail message notifying parents, but many of the parents NewsFix spoke with said they felt the message did not give enough detail.
HISD officials released a statements saying, “Teaching and learning are continuing as usual. Though the threat is not believed to be credible, we are taking every precaution possible to ensure safety. Please know we take all threats seriously as the safety of our students and staff is always our top priority.”
LISTEN: HISD voicemail sent to Northside High School parents: