SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – It’s happening in Utah, and across the country: “An increase in harassment, intimidation and threats of violence against school board members, teachers and workers in our nation’s public schools.”
That’s according to the U.S. Dept. of Justice, and that’s also top of mind for Utah’s State Bureau of Investigation.
“It’s rare that an individual who has gone through the path to violence and committed a violent act like we see today in Texas — it’s rare that they don’t have some sort of what we call ‘leakage.’ And leakage would be telling someone what they’re going to do or posting online,” said Lt. Nick Street with Utah State Bureau of Investigation.
“We’ve seen it in countless circumstances,” added Street.
On Wednesday morning, four people were hurt in a high school shooting in Arlington, Texas. Threats against school officials are tied to our current political climate, according to Street.
“Things like mask-wearing and critical race theory have been highly politicized in some groups and circles, to the point that we are seeing some violent rhetoric being spoken, even here in the state of Utah, on social media,” said Street.
School shootings — along with threats against people or threats of mass attacks — are among the threats that state agents are working to prevent. But they need the public’s help.
That’s partly because so many people are making their social media accounts private — and state officials are only able to access open source social media. Unless officials have a warrant, Street says, they need friends and family members who see suspicious posts to contact law enforcement.
“We can’t be looking in every space, we can’t see in every online space,” said Street.
If you have a tip, you can leave it here or visit https://siac.utah.gov/