Administration

Social media, smartphone apps among online tools used to fuel anonymous threats in schools

FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2014 file photo, students pass by Seven Lakes High School after being evacuated and released from school for the day after a bomb squad was called to the school after a potentially explosive device was found. Threats against schools don’t just come written on bathroom walls these days. Spread using smart phone apps, social media and Internet phone services, anonymous reports of bombs or other threats of violence are forcing school evacuations and a response by police swat teams or other authorities to what in the vast majority of cases turns out to be a hoax. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, File)

FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2014 file photo, students pass by Seven Lakes High School after being evacuated and released from school for the day after a bomb squad was called to the school after a potentially explosive device was found. Threats against schools don’t just come written on bathroom walls these days. Spread using smart phone apps, social media and Internet phone services, anonymous reports of bombs or other threats of violence are forcing school evacuations and a response by police swat teams or other authorities to what in the vast majority of cases turns out to be a hoax. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, File)  (The Associated Press)

Threats against schools don't just come written on bathroom walls these days. They are spread using smartphone apps, social media and Internet phone services.

These anonymous reports of bombs or other threats of violence are forcing school evacuations and responses by police or other authorities. In the vast majority of cases, a threat turns out to be a hoax.

Still, the use of the modern technologies has made it that much harder to determine if threats are real and to find the culprits.

School safety experts say the number of such incidents appears to be increasing — as are the complexity of the cases. The latest figures from the National Center for Education Statistics, from the 2009-2010 school year, show 5,700 such disruptions.