Text message threat prompts vigilance at Houston schools

By Floyd Ingram/Chickasaw Journal

HOUSTON – It appears to be a phone prank but both the Houston Police Department and the Houston School District are taking it very seriously.

Several students at Houston High School received anonymous text messages Wednesday threatening them and once school officials found out about it, they called police.

“Anytime there is the threat of harm to any of our students we take it serious and respond accordingly,” said Houston Assistant Superintendent Israel Lee. “The principals, assistant principals, Dr. (Steve) Coker and myself were on the campus and in the parking lots yesterday and today and have seen nothing.”

Lee stressed no one suspicious has been seen on campus and no students have been approached by anyone in Houston.

Houston Town Marshal Billy Voyles said he was contacted by a parent and then the school district about the text message Wednesday.

“We have stepped up patrols around the school in the mornings and in the afternoons,” said Voyles. “I drive by there on a regular basis and we are keeping an eye on the park, too.”

Joe Brigance Park is across the street from Houston High School.

Voyles said the text message appears to have originated from Corinth and they are trying to track down everyone who was contacted via text to see how widespread the text was and if different numbers and locations are involved.

The messages said “I’m going to get you after school,” “I’m going to kill you” and some were of a sexual nature.

Voyles said it appears about a dozen students, who seem to know each other, got the message.

“I think someone may have gotten some of those text messages numbers off of Facebook,” said Voyles. “People need to be careful what information they put out there and who they are talking to.”

Lee said students are not to be texting or reading texts when they are in school.

“Our cell phone policy prohibits the use of cell phones during class time,” said Lee. “Students found using their cell phone at school will have them taken up.”

Lee said teachers and students have been notified about the threat. He said additional teachers have been assigned to the parking lot each morning and afternoon.

Lee said students were told to report any kind of threat or bullying to teachers or principals immediately. Lee said parents who feel their student has been threatened or bullied should contact the district office at 456-3332

Voyles said anyone with information about this incident or who spots someone suspicious around any Houston school should call 911 immediately.