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Austin ISD student arrested for alleged threats against Akins high school

Free backpacks are provided to students at McCallum High School.
Renee Dominguez
/
KUT
Free backpacks are provided to students at McCallum High School in Austin ISD.

An Austin ISD student under 18 was arrested and charged with online impersonation and making a terroristic threat against Akins Early College High School, the school district said Friday. Both of the charges are felonies.

The arrest comes a day after Austin ISD police placed the Akins campus in what’s known as a “hold,” meaning no one can leave or enter the campus. Law enforcement went from classroom to classroom. As a result of the investigation, the officers were able to find the student, the district tweeted.

Austin ISD added “at no time did the student have access to any weapons, and at no time were our students and staff in danger.”

AISD was not the only Central Texas school district to face a threat this week. Eanes ISD said Tuesday the district had received an anonymous, threatening phone call. Ultimately, law enforcement said the threat was not credible.

Eanes ISD Superintendent Jeff Arnett said the district immediately responded to the threat.

“Literally within a matter of seconds, there were a number of individuals on that campus to make sure students and staff were safe,” he said. “I think it showed all of the preparation, all of the measures that we have put in place to respond instantaneously should something occur.”

The director of the Texas School Safety Center based at Texas State University said it is important for school districts to continue to take threats seriously even if they are not credible.

“Oftentimes we’re seeing these threats come in, they’re being considered not credible. We don’t want to get into that routine of this is just another threat there’s nothing to it,” Kathy Martinez-Prather said. “We don’t want school districts to do that.”

With both school districts throughout Texas facing threats this week, Martinez-Prather points out typically there is an uptick in threats after a high-profile shooting such as the massacre at Robb Elementary in Uvalde. A gunman killed 19 children and two teachers.

“So, this is very common," she said. "We see this. We see an increase in threats."

And, Martinez-Prather added, this is happening while school safety is top of mind for staff, students and their families.

“That’s why it’s really important that school districts, as part of their planning process, have procedures in place, have policies in place, for how they’re going to respond when a threat comes in but also how they’re going to communicate how they’re going to respond to parents,” she said.

Becky Fogel is the education reporter at KUT. Got a tip? Email her at rfogel@kut.org. Follow her on Twitter @beckyfogel.
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