A social media threat against Pearl City High School was a hoax that led to copycat threats, and the person responsible for the initial threat has been identified by the FBI, the agency announced today.
The FBI said students and faculty at the school were never in danger and the perpetrator intended the threat to be “a joke,” but the agency doesn’t see it that way.
“Making false threats drains law enforcement resources and cost taxpayers a lot of money,” the FBI said in a press release this afternoon. “When an investigation concludes there was a false or hoax threat made to a school or another public place, a federal charge could be considered, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.”
On Hawaii island, police investigated a social media post threatening a Big Island school and found it was not credible. But it deployed police to some schools today to ensure safety, according to a statement.
Superintendent Christina Kishimoto wrote a letter to public school families today reassuring them that authorities investigate all threats and asked them to do their part to keep rumors from spreading.
“According to the Honolulu Police Department, reposting a threat is as good as making the threat itself — it breathes life into the initial post,” she wrote. “We encourage anyone who sees these threats to take screenshots and immediately report them to school officials and the police, as well as report the offending accounts to the platforms on which they are made.”
If public safety appears to be at risk, the FBI advised the public to call 911 or submit tips to the FBI at tips.fbi.gov, call 1-800-CALL-FBI or the local field office at 566-4300.
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