Harker Heights High Student Arrested for Making Threats in Class
An 11th grader at Harker Heights High School was arrested on campus Thursday after allegedly threatening to shoot fellow students and a teacher.
Principal Larry Brazzil issued a statement Thursday that was being played to parents via phone, in which he said the student has been detained at the Bell County Juvenile Justice Center and now faces charges.
According to Brazzil, the student made verbal threats of gun violence while in class. Investigators interviewed students and teachers who were present when the threats were allegedly made and determined that the student might pose a serious risk.
In his statement to parents, Brazzil urged parents to to speak with their children and report any talk of self-harm, suicidal thoughts, or violent intentions to medical, academic, or police authorities.
KISD Superintendent John Craft issued a statement as well, saying, "Threats of violence against our students, our teachers, our staff, and our facilities will be met with the strongest possible response. We will not allow the safety of our schools to be threatened, and we will aggressively pursue criminal charges against anyone who makes these threats."
Reports of the arrest prompted a response from police in Temple, as well. In a media release, Public Information Officer Shawana Neely said TPD has responded to several threats made to schools in their jurisdiction.
"Temple PD takes all threats seriously and will act promptly in order to protect the students and staff of our schools and our community," Neely wrote. "TPD will pursue criminal charges against any individual responsible for making threats to any TISD School."
Neely cited the following excerpt from the Texas Education Code:
Education Code 37.125
(a) A person commits an offense if, in a manner intended to cause alarm or personal injury to another person or to damage school property, the person intentionally exhibits, uses, or threatens to exhibit or use a firearm:
(1) In or on any property, including a parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area, that is owned by a private or public school; or
(2) On a school bus being used to transport children to or from school-sponsored activities of a private or public school.
(b) An offense under this section is a third degree felony.
Reports of threats against students and staff at schools across the nation have risen significantly since the February 14 mass shooting at Parkland, Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in which 17 people died and 14 were injured.
The suspect in that shooting, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, has reportedly confessed to carrying out the attack and now faces 17 counts of premeditated murder.