Communities and schools across the country have been combating an alarming new trend: a dramatic rise in social media threats of school violence. This pattern has intensified in South Florida following the Parkland tragedy. In one South Florida community, four students were arrested in a single week for making threats towards their school about committing an active shooter incident.
Social Media Threats Are On The Rise
An alarming trend in our local schools is affecting students, parents, teachers, and administrators.
Students of all ages have been making something the media is calling “joke” threats about committing a school shooting.
It is important for school officials to take all threats seriously because any adult or child can potentially be an active shooter.
Laws are changing throughout the country permitting police the authority to charge students that make these threats with felonies.
Social Media Threats Can Be Dangerous Signals
In many of the school shootings that have occurred, the shooters have posted threats on their social media accounts, some of which went unreported until it was too late.
These threats can range from extremely specific to vague in nature.
On October 27th, the shooter that killed 11 members of a Pittsburgh synagogue posted his threats on social media. His threats included hate speech about religion, and even one specific threat where he wrote, “I’m going in today.”
Local Communities Are Spreading Awareness
Pembroke Pines has put out a public service announcement addressing the parents and students in regards to the rise of these threats of an active shooter incident.
In this public service announcement the school resource officer stresses that, “A threat is not a joke, and a joke is not a threat.”
This Dangerous Pattern Extends Beyond South Florida
- Social Media Threats are occurring at schools across the country
- On October 23rd, a student made threats on the social media platform, Snapchat against two Texas schools; Kilgore and Longview.
- On October 24th, a 16-year old was arrested in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana when he stated that a shooting would occur at their school the following day.
- On October 24th, a 14-year old boy was arrested for making a social media threat about committing a school shooting at Beaumont High School in California
If You See Something, Say Something
- All threats are credible until proven otherwise.
- It is important to report anything that you feel may be a threat whether it is on social media or not.
- Do not be afraid of being wrong when it comes to reporting suspicious incidents. It is better to report something and be wrong than to do nothing and have a violent incident occur.
Does your school have an Active Shooter Response Plan?
While schools are taking steps to minimize threats, they must also evaluate their Active Shooter Response Plans.
To learn more about how to protect your school from a Active Shooter Incidents >>click here<<..
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