Shooting threats at Hawaii schools have communities on edge

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - There have been two arrests in just two days after teens allegedly made threats against schools.

They're the latest in a string of threats that have prompted schools to bolster security and police to increase their presence on campus.

Honolulu police say the FBI is assisting them with a number of the threats, some spread through social media and others written on walls or posters.

At a news conference Friday, HPD Deputy Chief John McCarthy warned that anyone caught threatening violence at a school could face felony, terroristic threatening charges, even if they're juveniles.

A 15-year-old and a 14-year-old have been arrested so far. Both were released to the custody of their parents.

"What I want my young people to understand is that there are consequences that can follow them," said Hawaii Department of Education Superintendent Christina Kishimoto. "It can impact their ability to go to college, get a job."

McCarthy, meanwhile, said social media threats spread fear faster because so many people re-post the threat.

"If you're re-posting the threats, it's as good as making the threat itself," he said. "Because you're contributing, you're carrying on the initial conspiracy so to speak."

Kishimoto added that Hawaii schools are exceptionally safe.

But all the threats come in the wake of the school shooting in Florida, which left 17 dead.

That shooting has also fueled a nationwide debate over arming teachers.

President Trump suggests allowing teachers to carry guns as a first line of defense in the event of a mass shooting.

The idea does not sit well with Corey Rosenlee, president of the Hawaii State Teacher's Association.

"There was a sheriff at that school (in Florida). He had a gun and was trained, and he didn't want to go against an AR-15," said Rosenlee, during a discussion on Hawaii Public Radio on Friday afternoon. "So do we expect the math teacher or the lunch lady to do that."

Rosenlee said teachers do not want to have guns in classrooms.

"If you want to arm teachers, arm us with books, arm us with air conditioners arm us with computers," he said.

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