In an Instagram story from an anonymous account, a threat was made Thursday night against Kapolei Middle School.
The message had thousands of parents concerned and calling police.
The Honolulu Police Department worked with the FBI to check the campus Friday. No unusual incidents were reported.
Now, authorities are on the case to make sure the culprit doesn’t get away with it.
Cybersecurity experts say there’s a way to find out from where the message was sent.
So far, no arrests have been made.
Once someone is caught, the suspect could face first-degree terroristic threatening charges.
In a letter sent to parents Friday, schools superintendent Christina Kishimoto said, “across the country, school districts are dealing with rumors or threats against school safety spread via social media. The Hawaii state DOE is no exception.”
Cybercrime expert Chris Duque explains why these kinds of threats are taken very seriously.
“Even though it might end up being a prank, it can backfire, because people get on high alert status and emotions are running high,” he said.
Terroristic threatening can land someone in prison for as long as five years, and carry a $5,000 fine.
Kishimoto says terroristic threats are also considered Class A student offenses. Other Class A student offenses include assault and drug possession.
Penalties can range from detention to dismissal, with the possibility of arrest and criminal charges.
When it comes to messages posted on social media, Duque says it’s up to parents to teach their kids how to use devices responsibly.
“You have to sit down and know what the kids are using the devices for, and second, sort of explain to the kids by putting them in the shoes of the victims and victims’ families, and see how would they feel if they were on the receiving end of somebody teasing them or making jokes about loss of a family member or a brother or sister,” Duque said.