Social Media Threat to Hilo Intermediate School - UPDATE

Aloha Parents and Guardians. 
 
This afternoon we were made aware of a threat to our campus made on social media.  A subsequent post a few hours later retracted the threat and said it was a joke. 
 
Law enforcement was contacted immediately and is working closely with the Complex to investigate.  We ask that you please check your email or visit our website to view a parent letter from Complex Area Superintendent Chad K. Farias regarding this situation. 
 
Mahalo.
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Dear Hilo Complex families,

The safety and security of our schools cannot be understated. When we received word of a threat to Hilo Intermediate this afternoon, the Hawaii Police Department (HPD) was immediately notified. A few hours later, a follow up post retracted the threat and said it was a joke.

All threats to our schools and students are taken very seriously and are investigated thoroughly. Terroristic threats are considered Class A student conduct offenses. Penalties can range from detention to dismissal with the possibility of arrest and serious criminal charges. I urge students and families to refrain from reposting threats. According to law enforcement, reposting a threat is as good as making the threat itself and contributes to carrying on the initial threat.

Out of an abundance of caution, additional department security and HPD officers will be present at Hilo Intermediate tomorrow. All Hilo Complex schools will be open and there will be no change in schedules.

As with any emergency-type situation, we are striving to balance the need for safety with our overall commitment to provide students and families with every sense of normalcy. We appreciate your help as we work together to keep all of our students safe. Should you have any concerns, please contact your child’s principal.

Sincerely,

Chad Farias
Complex Area Superintendent
Kau-Keaau-Pahoa & Hilo-Waiakea

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February 22, 2019 Dear HIDOE families and guardians:
 
Our schools play an integral role in each of our communities. That is why when threats are made against our schools, we all feel the effects.
 
The Department takes all threats seriously. Immediate and swift action is taken to ensure that our campuses are safe and nurturing learning environments for students and staff. In the past two days, individuals have inappropriately used social media to post threats to our schools. This is not how we care for community in Hawaii, and I want to reassure you that we are working closely with law enforcement agencies to investigate these incidents. If at any time we feel that the safety of any of our students is at risk, we will immediately implement school security plans, which includes notifying law enforcement, and alert parents and communities.
 
The Department's Safety, Security and Emergency Preparedness Branch works closely with our Complex Areas and schools to review and update these plans. We encourage you to speak with your child about the seriousness of making these types of threats, especially over social media, where they may think it will remain anonymous. Our law enforcement partners have the capability to track down individuals who are responsible for these posts; one suspect has already been identified. We also ask that everyone do their part to not spread these threats further by reposting them. According to the Honolulu Police Department, reposting a threat is as good as making the threat itself- it breathes life into the initial post.
 
We encourage anyone who sees these threats to take screenshots and immediately report them to school officials and police, as well as report the offending accounts to the platforms on which they are made. Learn more here: https :// cyberbull ying. org/report.  
 
 
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