Are School Threats in Florida on the Rise?

As a south Florida-based company, a vast majority of the schools we serve come from this region. We’ve seen the news reports of the school threats in Florida made at Olympic Heights High School, the clown threats made at five Palm Beach County Public Schools and the direct threats to a charter school in Broward County. The most recent and unsettling situation being the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland that killed 17 innocent students.

With these stories making local and national news, our company has been getting asked if school threats in Florida are on the rise. The answer is yes and no. Yes, we are seeing an increase in school threats in Florida making the news.

As a law enforcement detective, who is responsible for addressing school threats in Florida, I can tell you that these are only the threats that are making the news.

Tweets, Facebook posts, and sometimes news reports of possible threats are being shared throughout the world before a proper investigation has taken place.

While awareness is crucial, it is important to prevent panic and hysteria when discussing school violence.

So should Florida families pack their bags and relocate to another state?

Parents in Florida: don’t pack your bags.

You can breathe a small sigh of relief knowing that school threats in Florida are no different than what is going on throughout the entire nation. However, what is going on in our country is rattling as a detective and most importantly as a parent. As the founder of Guardian Defense, I also recognize that violence will always exist in society. It is up to the professionals in this world to minimize violence through awareness and prevention.

As a parent, what can I do about school threats in Florida and the nation?

The first thing you need to do is make sure your child’s school is prepared for an active threat.

Begin by asking the right questions!

Use this 9-Point Questionnaire to Ask your Child’s School about their Emergency Preparedness for an Active Threat:

  1. Does our school have written emergency procedures for an active threat on campus?
  2. Does our school have written emergency procedures for an active threat that occurs off campus, but close by?
  3. Are the teachers and staff familiar with the emergency procedures for an active threat?
  4. Do teachers and staff understand their different response options for an active threat on campus?
  5. Do teachers and staff understand how to respond to a threat that occurs off campus?
  6. Is there an established safety team who is responsible for safety tasks during a threat that occurs off-campus?
  7. Does our school drill regularly for active threats?
  8. Do our teachers and staff speak to the students about threats in an age-appropriate manner?
  9. Following a drill, does our school administration debrief to highlight strengths and weaknesses.

Fortunately, school threats are more prevalent than actual cases of active shooter events in our schools.

Make A Plan

It is critical for schools to have an action plan to utilize if an active threat occurs. This should include monthly lockdown drills, and an annual school safety drill schedule.

Let’s make sure ALL schools are making the changes needed to bring their emergency plans and training up-to-date with society’s issues.

To gain instant access to Active Threat Response Training Information, visit our homepage, scroll down to the video and watch our Free Training: 5 Immediate Actions You MUST Know When Confronted By an Active Shooter!


About Steven S. Smith

Steven S. Smith, the President and Founder of Guardian Defense, offers active shooter training programs to staff within schools, colleges, churches, law enforcement agencies, businesses, and hospitals; in order to build confidence and save time in the event of an intruder, active shooter or killer, or other terror attack. Mr. Smith is a current certified law enforcement officer and has a range of experience on school and public safety, and investigation work. He is currently a team leader and instructor on the SWAT Team, for which he joined in 2009. Mr. Smith graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, with a concentration in Criminal Justice, in 2005 from Nova Southeastern University.