JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Authorities conducted a security sweep Thursday morning at LaVilla School of the Arts following a threat to blow up the school.
Florida law makes it a second-degree felony for any person to make, post or send a threat in writing or any other record. A felony conviction of the second degree carries maximums of a $10,000 fine, 15 years in prison and the loss of various rights due to a felony conviction.
In the months following a tragic mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland that left 17 people dead, lawmakers changed how school threats are handled in the state of Florida. Despite the changes, they still happen.
A 13-year-old student was charged with a felony this week after St. Johns County deputies said he threatened to shoot up Switzerland Point Middle School.
The principal for Switzerland Point Middle said the threats were deemed not valid, but the student is facing serious consequences for making them.
Many school districts have school safety policies in place. This month, Duval County leaders passed a new threat assessment policy, which included a team of those with knowledge in counseling, law enforcement, school administration and instruction.
The team will identify students whose behavior may pose a threat to themselves or others. It can also obtain the criminal history of any student posing a threat. The parent or guardian of that child will be notified if a student is identified by the team.
Parents and students can also report potential threats through the FortifyFL app, which can be downloaded through the Apple App store or through Google Play.