PHOENIX - Parents at Barry Goldwater High School say many students were afraid to go to school this week amid threats of violence that circulated on social media.
Dec. 8 was an unsettling day for many at the North Phoenix high school, after a social media post that warned kids not to attend school that day was circulated.
"When she got there, she texted me and said 'mommy, school is surrounded with police,'" said the parent of a student at Barry Goldwater High School, identified only as 'Kimberlee.'
The social media posts that were circulating claim someone is planning a school attack. Both Deer Valley Unified School District and Phoenix Police officials say there is no credible threat. Students, however, were on heightened alert on Dec. 8 amid fears of potential violence.
"It's really scary, and it's even worse that your child is scared," said Kimberlee. "Being afraid, a lot of parents kept their kids home."
In emails to parents, the school's principal said "we are devoting our energy to locating the individual student or students who write each message."
"We are working with Phoenix Police to press charges against at least three students. There may be additional students who are suspended," read a portion of the statement.
Law enforcement officials say 18-year-old Madeline Young, a student in Scottsdale, was recently arrested and is facing a felony count of making terrorist threats. According to court documents, a video posted on Instagram shows her talking about planning a school shooting, and using an AK-47 rifle to carry it out at Horizon High School.
"They’re creating havoc. They could get in serious trouble, this is not just a school prank," said Kimberlee. "The police are involved. This goes on your record. I don't think kids realize that."
In case of another threat, Kimberlee hopes school officials will consider keeping students at home.
"Why not make it a virtual learning for a day or two or the rest of the week, so they can actually research it?" said Kimberlee.
According to Deer Valley Unified School District officials, the current investigation could result in multiple suspensions, and criminal charges against the students for disrupting and educational institution.
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