More than a quarter of Ball High School's students were absent Friday after a widespread social media rumor had some worried about a shooting threat against the school.

Only 73.3 percent of the nearly 2,000 students attended school Friday, school district spokeswoman Dyann Polzin said. Normal school day attendance is between 89 and 93 percent, Polzin said.

School officials attributed the large number of absences to a social media post, first shared among students on Snapchat and then spread on other sites, including Facebook. The post warned that "BHS students" would be harmed at school on Friday.

The post was reported to the Galveston Independent School District on Thursday evening, Polzin said. The department tracked the message to a teenager in Belen, N.M., she said.

It was in that city that Jonathan Flores, 16, was arrested and charged with multiple crimes, including unlawful use of a telephone and interference with the education system, according to the Valencia County News-Bulletin.

There was never a real threat made against Ball High School, Polzin said. 

Ball High was not the only school to experience a scare over the incident. Police and school officials reported similar scares at Bush High School in Richmond; Bryan High School in Bryan; Baker High School in Mobile, Ala.; and Bremerton High School in Bremerton, Wash., among many other places across the country.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; or on Twitter @johnwferguson.


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