The Houston office of the FBI said today it will launch a statewide effort designed to deter students from posting hoax threats against their schools and other public places on social media, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Called #ThinkBeforeYouPost, the campaign is co-sponsored by San Antonio based Clear Channel Outdoor.
"Hoax threats have real consequences," FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich said. "We don't want to see any young people begin their adult lives with a felony record."
The FBI says that record could also come with up to five years federal prison time.
“With the school year underway, we need students and the public to understand that making threats against a school is not a joke. There are serious legal consequences for those who do, even if there was never an intent to carry out the threat,” said Perrye Turner, Special Agent in Charge of the Houston FBI.
The FBI in Houston will head the effort because of its involvement with the Santa Fe High School shooting in May.
The FBI says it is already scanning countless social media sites for potentially threatening comments, and Turner says the investigation of those threats will be stepped up under the #ThinkBeforeYouPost program.
If the threats are deemed to be hoaxes, as most of them are, the case will be referred to federal or state prosecutors.