Working with schools as they deal with threats, administrators express frustrations when Yik Yak is the medium for delivering the threat. Many young people (and most school administrators!)believe the use of Yik Yak is completely anonymous.  Administrators view Yik Yak as the old payphone in a phone booth; impossible to trace and impossible to catch the person making the threat. Because they believe it is impossible to investigate the threat, the threat is often treated as a high level threat. This can lead to over reaction and increased disruptions to the school day and school activities.

All threats to a school MUST be investigated. Threat Assessments should be part of your All Hazards Emergency Response Plans, just as involving First Responders should be a part of your protocols when your school or district receives any threat. Although a threat via Yik Yak could be considered a low level threat, it is still a threat and must be investigated. Working with and involving First Responders, especially Law Enforcement, students who make the threats can be identified through the use of a subpoena.  It is possible to get the information without a subpoena in exigent circumstances.

We all have experienced the contagiousness of bomb threats.  If we do not handle the threat properly, we face both intense media scrutiny and the risk of more threats.  Working with First Responders not only deflects some of the second guessing by parents and the media, it also gives schools another tool to catch the perpetrators using a subpoena.

For additional information, please read: Yik Yak Social Media Service Can Reveal User Data to Police