Monitoring schools threats continues to be a priority for law enforcement

Flagler County Sheriff’s Office says it has seen an uptick in school threats

The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School spurred the state to impose sweeping new requirements on how the state’s school districts track and report crimes on campuses.

Tuesday marks five years since 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Since the shooting, monitoring school threats continues to be a priority for law enforcement.

“It’s kind of terrifying. We are in an era where it’s happening all the time. You send your baby to school and you just hope you don’t get a text messasge or an alert that they are in a lockdown,” said parent Adrienne Sooriash.

In recent weeks, there have been threats targeting schools in Duval County. Last week, Sadie Tillis Elementary went on lockdown after what was described as a “credible” social media threat. In December, a person with a weapon reportedly approached Lake Shore Middle School.

“We train with JSO (Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office) and the beaches police all the time to ensure that when these incidents may occur, that we respond accordingly,” said Duval County School Police Chief Greg Burton.

In Flagler County, there were three bomb threats at one high school in the last two months, according to authorities.

“We’ve had an uptick [in school threats],” said Cmdr. Jennifer Nawrocki, with the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office Youth Services Division.

In December, authorities said, a 14-year-old was arrested and charged with sending a written threat on social media to conduct a mass shooting. Then in November, according to authorities, a 12-year-old was accused of sending messages on Snapchat about a school shooting and was arrested.

Nawrocki said most of the threats in Flagler County toward schools in the last few months have been made by minors.

“As young as 11 years old,” Nawrocki said. “That is very, very unfortunate. But even as you have probably seen with some of the news reports throughout the country, young kids do things, too, and just because they are young age doesn’t mean that they won’t do something.”

Nawrocki says most of the children think it’s a joke.

“I think social media needs to be taken more seriously and monitored more. I think parents need to be more in tune with the screen time and with what their kids are posting on the internet,” said Sooriash.

Parents and law enforcement agree that this should be a time for children to enjoy themselves in school.

“We will do whatever we can to make these years enjoyable for them and save for them. But we have to take each threat seriously and be very diligent with it,” Nawrocki said.

Federal data shows nearly 65% of schools now have anonymous or confidential threat reporting systems.

If you see something, say something. Reporting it could be the difference in saving lives.

About the Author:

A Florida girl and North Carolina A&T SU grad who thrives in breaking news.