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School threats and social media hoaxes are forcing closures, time-consuming investigations

When a social media post surfaced earlier this month promising a student was going to “shoot up the school,” Enix opted to have students learn virtually the next day. “It was an easy call to make,” he said. “We would make that call every single time.”

Nine days after the mass shooting at Michigan’s Oxford High School, a disturbing message on social media shook a tiny Virginia town. A 15-year-old boy wrote of “shooting up the school tomorrow,” police say, apparently referring to the high school he attended — spurring worried classmates to report the message to Manassas Park City Schools administrators, the Washington Post reports.

School officials contacted the police, setting in motion a full-scale investigation, and the school system decided on a fairly drastic step — closing all campuses, not just the targeted school, for all of its 3,500 students the next day.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we switched all schools to virtual learning,” said schools spokeswoman Kara Grasser. “The immediate information we received was not specific. … We are a very small school system with only four schools.”

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