Abilene ISD Superintendent: Social media changes dynamic of school violence

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Click the video above to watch the full interview with Dr. David Young.

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Abilene Independent School District Superintendent Dr. David Young says social media is often times a major catalyst to school violence.

“Many of the threats we investigate are from social media,” Young told KTAB/KRBC.

Young said what sometimes grows or starts on social media can carry through to the next school day — whether that be external threats or internal threats.

He cautioned parents and the community about the spread of misinformation, many times through social media. Young said that while not every instance warrants notification of the entire school population and parents, that decision is made on a case-by-case basis.

“When we know there’s an awful lot of misinformation we will go ahead and make a broad communication to try and thwart some of that misinformation,” Young said.

In the wake of two instances of recent school violence from within — meaning among students, — Young said every instance is always investigated.

“Internal threats are no different than external,” he said. “We take them just as seriously.”

Young said administrators are fully trained at investigating these internal threats, admitting it can be time consuming, albeit essential and important.

“We exhaustively investigate every single piece.”

As for keeping campuses safe, Young was stern.

“We don’t get to do anything else in a day before we think about keeping kids safe and staff safe.”

The bottom line: If someone sees something, they need to say something.

“The very best way to ensure safety is to make sure kids have ownership in their school and are willing to talk about things that come up and share and trust the adults that are there with them.”

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