According to a press release from the Rowlett Police Department, on February 5, at approximately 11:20 am, Rowlett High School Resource Officers were notified by a student that there was a Snapchat sent to several students at Rowlett High School regarding the threat of a shooting at the campus. Snapchat is a mobile messaging application used to share photos, videos, texts and drawings. A concerned Rowlett High School student approached SROs and school staff andd told them that she and other students received Snapchats from an unknown person making a threat to shoot up RHS. Rowlett Police Department and Garland ISD immediately assigned several additional officers to the campus while the incident was being investigated this week.
Rowlett Police worked with Federal partners to identify the individual responsible for opening and using the Snapchat account to send threats. Based on subscriber and other evidence, RPD Detectives arrested a sixteen-year-old Rowlett resident on Saturday, February 9, 2019. During his interview, he admitted he was responsible for the Snapchat threat to RHS; as a result he was charged with a violation of the State Education Code Section 37.125(c) “Exhibition, Use, or Threat of Exhibition or Use of Firearms”, a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by 180 days in jail and a $4,000 fine.
This year GISD launched a program called Anonymous Alerts “See Something Do Something”. The program allows students and parents to access an app or webpage to report bullying, crimes, and threats against another student or campuses in the district all while remaining anonymous. The phone and tablet app allow for real-time chat between the user and GISD, although the web-version does not have the live chat feature. Anonymous Alerts has been a valuable tool for the districe and its law enforcement partners to find out about threats or problems early on and intervene before something more serious occurs.
This case was an excellent example of cooperation between the students, GISD security, Federal partners and Rowlett Police Department all working in collaboration to identify a potentially dangerous situation and act to apprehend and prosecute those responsible for these threats. School safety is paramount. The Rowlett Police Department has zero tolerance towards individuals making threats to students at our schools. If an individual makes a threat and there is a probable cause to believe that an offense has been committed, an arrest will be made, and a case forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office for consideration.