ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- On Thursday, Albemarle County High School and the Albemarle County Police Department responded to a threat made over Snapchat message that morning.

The message urging students to leave the building around 2:50 p.m so they could "get rid of some people."

"Unfortunately, it's becoming more and more common," said Albemarle County’s Director of Student Services Dr. Jesse Turner.

Now the school division is implementing resources like an anonymous alert system.

"We want to be proactive and we want to address major issues before they become major problems," Turner said.

Turner says students, families and staff can send anonymous alerts to school officials about any concerns they may have, including bullying, misbehavior, and school threats.

He says giving people the option to remain anonymous could make them more comfortable with coming forward, especially at a time during which mental health issues are on the rise.

"There's just more issues out there that are causing more people stress. Children are more stressed than ever,” Turner said. "We're just in a situation now where people feel as though, if they want to lash out, they're lashing out in ways where, unfortunately, it impacts a lot of people."

Captain Tavis Coffin of ACPD's Criminal Investigations Division says school threats can lead to serious consequences.

"It's a class six felony. If convicted with a class six felony, that offender could end up seeing up to five years in prison and/or $2,500 fine," he said.

Coffin says this applies to juveniles as well.

He says these kinds of 911 calls can also be taxing on their department.

"Our patrol officers and investigators have to stop what they're doing, when they're oftentimes investigating real crimes, to address this hoax, or what we often find as a hoax," said Coffin. "It takes a huge demand on our 911 call center because as you can imagine, once parents and staff learn, the influx of calls increases dramatically."

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