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Florida Launches Campaign To Stop School Threats

More than 2,000 Florida students have been arrested in the last three fiscal years for making threats involving schools.
Florida Department of Juvenile Justice
/
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
More than 2,000 Florida students have been arrested in the last three fiscal years for making threats involving schools.
Credit Florida Department of Juvenile Justice
/
The Florida Channel
More than 2,000 Florida students have been arrested in the last three fiscal years for making threats involving schools.

The state wants kids to understand the trouble they can get into by making school threats. So, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice has launched an awareness campaign called “It’s No Joke.”

Nearly 800 Florida kids were charged with offenses related to school threats in the last fiscal year.

Juvenile Justice Secretary Simone Marstiller says that includes kids who may have just been joking around on social media.

“In today’s environment in which we know that our schools are being targeted and attacked, every single threat like this has to be taken seriously,” Marstiller says. “There are consequences for their behavior. Whether they made it jokingly or not, we are not in a position to assume that it’s a joke. We’re going to assume that it’s a credible threat, and law enforcement is going to pursue that threat accordingly.”

The campaign will use social media and school outreach to teach students that making a threat against a school can lead to an arrest and a felony charge. School related threats include making false reports of explosives or firearms on campus, and warning students not to go to school.

Marstiller is encouraging parents to monitor their children’s online activities. “It’s important for parents to be aware that if their child makes this kind of a threat online, there are serious consequences to be had.”

Students, parents, and teachers are encouraged to report any threat they see or hear. They can call law enforcement or report it anonymously through the Fortify Florida app.

Copyright 2020 WFSU. To see more, visit WFSU.

Gina Jordan reports from Tallahassee for WUSF and WLRN about how state policy affects your life.
Gina Jordan
Gina Jordanis the host of Morning Edition for WFSU News. Gina is a Tallahassee native and graduate of Florida State University. She spent 15 years working in news/talk and country radio in Orlando before becoming a reporter and All Things Considered host for WFSU in 2008. She left after a few years to spend more time with her son, working part-time as the capital reporter/producer for WLRN Public Media in Miami and as a drama teacher at Young Actors Theatre. She also blogged and reported for StateImpact Florida, an NPR education project, and produced podcasts and articles for AVISIAN Publishing. Gina has won awards for features, breaking news coverage, and newscasts from contests including the Associated Press, Green Eyeshade, and Murrow Awards. Gina is on the Florida Associated Press Broadcasters Board of Directors. Gina is thrilled to be back at WFSU! In her free time, she likes to read, travel, and watch her son play football. Follow Gina Jordan on Twitter: @hearyourthought