FBI asked to help investigate threats at Highland Park High School

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by MATT GOODMAN and CARLA WADE

Bio | Email | Follow: @CarlaNWade

WFAA

Posted on February 27, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 27 at 7:24 PM

The University Park Police Department has enlisted the help of the FBI following a series of threats at Highland Park High School, which escalated Wednesday when a box of shells were found in a boy's bathroom.

School administrators dismissed students for the day amid a police investigation less than two hours after the .22 caliber shells were found. 

The school was locked down at 10:45 a.m. and dismissed at 12:15 p.m. This is the second consecutive day district officials have released Highland Park High School students amid a police investigation into a threat.

On Tuesday, school was dismissed after a threatening note was found in a boy's bathroom, the fourth such note since the spring semester started. However, searches of the school after the four previous incidents never turned up any weapons, bullets or explosives. 

Each of the the threatening notes were found in the same boy's bathroom. Highland Park ISD spokeswoman Helen Williams said the shells were found in a different bathroom and did not have a note. 

Williams added that police have interviewed students seen on surveillance camera near the bathroom just before the shells were found. She did not discuss what investigators learned. 

Yesterday, the district urged parents to discuss the seriousness of making threats such as these with their students.

"Parents, please talk with your children about how seriously any threats, written or otherwise, are taken on campus," read an alert.

Parents and students alike are split over how seriously the incidents should be taken. 

"The first time around, I was a little freaked out, but as it progressed, it's kind of like the boy who cried wolf," said Sarah Marshal, a junior. 

"You know, they send everybody home, so now your kids are loose. What are you going to do with them? But then you are, you know, obviously scared and concerned about what's really going on," said Brett Cooper, a parent. "Is it a senior prank? Is it true? That's very concerning."

Prank or not, it now comes with serious consequences: The amount of threats combined with the bullets found on school property now carry felony charges. 

E-mail cwade@wfaa.com

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