You report a threatening post. Then what happens?
Mother of Jacksonville middle school reported student, heard nothing
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In the wake of previous mass shootings and again after Wednesday massacre at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, law enforcement officials remind the pubic: "See something, say something."
But News4Jax looked into what happens when threats made on social media are reported.
One young mother said she reported a Snapchat post of an eighth-grader pointing a handgun with the text "twitter fingers turn into trigger fingers," and said nothing has happened. Hahlah Ideis said that student has threatened her daughter, a sixth-grader at Mandarin Middle School, and she is concerned.
"I immediately freaked out and videotaped it to make sure I have that proof," Ideis said. "(I'm) very surprised because I feel they are taking this matter lightly. They should be contacting me immediately."
Ideis also contacted the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office about what the social media post and threats.
A Duval County Public Schools spokeswoman sent News4Jax the following statement, saying they are they are investigating and looking into post:
Earlier this month, Mandarin Middle School leaders became aware of a verbal conflict among students, to which school leaders implemented appropriate intervention. At no time was a threat of gun violence reported to the school.
Friday morning, a parent made school leadership aware of a social media post showing a student off campus with a firearm. All safety concerns -- whether on or off campus -- are taken seriously and school leaders immediately contacted law enforcement to conduct a threat assessment and investigation. The investigation remains active and ongoing."
After it was learned that the 19-year-old accused of the Wednesday's school shooting that left 17 people dead and more than a dozen hurt had posted threats on social media, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said law enforcement needs more power to crack down on threats posted on social media.
Israel pleaded with lawmakers in Tallahassee and Washington to give police the power to detain people "if they see something on social media, if they see graphic pictures of rifles and blood and gore and guns and bombs, if they see something, horrific language, if they see a person talking about ‘I want to grow up to be a serial killer.'"
Israel said the Baker Act already allows law enforcement or medical professionals to confine a person involuntarily, but would like the definition of what would qualify to include online threats.
Former Jacksonville sheriff, now U.S. Rep John Rutherford, R-Jacksonville, told News4Jax that situations like this need more investigation.
"Those things need to be investigated aggressively and we need to have more and more citizens look for those telltale warning signs and bring that information forward," Rutherford said.
Not only are police investigating threats, they must also investigate hoax calls about gunmen or plans to harm people at schools and prosecute those people, as well.
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