WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — West Palm Beach police have extra officers on every school campus Friday after phoned-in threats put five schools on lockdown Thursday.
According to the West Palm Beach Police Department, Thursday's phone threats were identified as a hoax.
"We are adding extra officers, so a lot of the schools will have two police officers and this is just a precaution to let the parents have a little piece of mind," said West Palm Beach Deputy Police Chief Richard Morris.
Deputy Chief Morris said although Thursday's threats were not credible, police take the situation very seriously.
"We didn’t have these times during our generation where we had to worry about going to school with active shooters and these types of situations," said Deputy Chief Morris. "It’s scary for our children, but we want to do the best we can to make them feel as safe as they can and let their parents have piece of mind that their children are safe."
Deputy Chief Morris added that communication is key.
"Parents are reacting, they are running to get their kids, they’re scared, so we need that communication because the truth needs to get out there," said Deputy Chief Morris. "Also, the quicker the truth is out there, the less effective these people are that are trying to cause damage."
It is a federal crime to threaten schools and can lead to a five-year prison sentence.
The FBI, West Palm Beach police, and Palm Beach County School District police are investigating a series of threats that were phoned-in to at least five schools on Thursday.
Police said all the threats were non-credible and no students or faculty were ever in danger.
According to a spokesperson for the Palm Beach County School District, the FBI is now involved in the investigation.
The school district and West Palm Beach police said the following schools received threats on Thursday:
- Cardinal Newman High School
- Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts
- Forest Hill High School
- Palm Beach Lakes High School
- Worthington High School, a "finish school" serving older students ages 16 to 21
Police said all of the threats were deemed non-credible and lockdowns at each school have been lifted.
Anyone with information about any of the threats is urged to call the West Palm Beach Police Department at 561-822-1900.
We have received multiple non-credible phone threats to local schools. Everyone is safe, and we are working closely with our law enforcement partners. Anyone with information is urged to call the West Palm Beach Police Department 5618221900. #SEESOMETHINGSAYSOMETHING— West Palm Beach PD (@WestPalmPD) August 15, 2019
Elsewhere in South Florida, the Miami-Dade Police Department said one person is in custody following a hoax bomb threat at Miami Northwestern Senior High School on Thursday.
Pembroke Pines Charter High School in Broward County also received threats on Thursday, but police have determined those to be non-credible as well.
The FBI offers this information about hoax threats directed at schools.