BAYTOWN - Beefed up police patrols in Baytown, after someone posted a nasty threat to Goose Creek ISD schools on Instagram Wednesday night.
The message said, 'Congratulations, your life has been spared. Spread the word out - Goose Creek Memorial, Ross S. Sterling, Robert E. Lee, Highlands Junior High, Baytown Junior High, Cedar Bayou Junior High and Gentry Junior High will be destroyed at approximately 1:30pm. May God be with you.'
The district took the threat seriously and police searched and cleared each campus. While they didn't think the threat to be credible, Goose Creek ISD sent out an alert to parents via phone.
The district opened, hoping for business as usual, but that didn't happen.
"There's nuts everywhere," said concerned parent Becca Brown, "Of course I'm concerned, that's why I came up to get my son out."
Panicked parents wanted to pick up their kids, but couldn't.
"No parent can take their children out right now. They're going to all be evacuated to Travis Elementary," said Brown.
"I figured it was just a hoax," said concerned parent Bryan Criswell, "But you can't be too careful nowadays."
Rumors were flying, and students didn't feel safe.
"Because there was a bomb that's going to explode," said Gilberto Espinosa, an 8th grader at Baytown Junior High, "They were saying at GCM they found a bomb."
So out of abundance of caution, the district evacuated students to other schools.
To be perfectly clear, police searched each of the campuses and found nothing dangerous, but just like parents said, you can never be too careful these days.
Goose Creek ISD released this statement on the situation:
Out of an abundance of caution, we evacuated the following schools this afternoon at 12:30 p.m.: Goose Creek memorial, Sterling High School, Robert E. Lee High School, Cedar Bayou Junior School, Highlands Junior School, Baytown Junior School, Gentry Junior School and Horace Mann Junior School. I’ve also attached a screen shot of the exact anonymous threat that was posted. As you can see, it was pretty vague. Nevertheless, we treated it seriously, as the safety and security of our students and staff is our top priority.
During the evacuations, the schools were searched again and once cleared, the students returned safely to their home campuses around 2 p.m. While we are of course grateful that this incident appears to be a remarkably non-funny prank, we are disappointed in the loss of instructional time and the nervousness in our community. We are working diligently with the appropriate agencies to determine the identify of the individual who made the threat, and we will support every effort to ensure that he or she is punished to the full extent of the law. - Beth Dombrowa, Goose Creek CISD Director of Communications