But in an age of heightened fear about mass school shootings, it tripped invisible alarms.
The local Brazosport Independent School District had recently hired a company called Social Sentinel to monitor public posts from all users, including adults, on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. The company’s algorithms flagged Lafrenais’s tweet as a potential threat. Automated alerts were sent to the district’s superintendent, chief of police, director of student services, and director of guidance. All told, nearly 140 such alerts were delivered to Brazosport officials during the first eight months of this school year, according to documents obtained by Education Week.
Among the other “threats” flagged by Social Sentinel:
Tweets about the movie “Shooter,” the “shooting clinic” put on by the Stephen F. Austin State University women’s basketball team, and someone apparently pleased their credit score was “shooting up.”
A common Facebook quiz, posted by the manager of a local vape shop.
A tweet from the executive director of a libertarian think tank, who wrote that a Democratic U.S. senator “endorses murder” because of her support for abortion rights.
And a post by one of the Brazosport district’s own elementary schools, alerting parents that it would be conducting a lockdown drill that morning.
“Please note that it is only a drill,” the school’s post read. “Thank you for your understanding. We will post in the comment section when the drill is over.”