Student Arrested For Social Media Threats Against Dade Schools

Follow CBSMIAMI.COM: Facebook | Twitter

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Threats against three Miami-Dade schools have been deemed a hoax.

Despite that, the youngster who reportedly made the threats has been ordered by Circuit Judge Maria de Jesus Santiago at the Children’s Courthouse to stay away from all three schools. Judge de Jesus Santiago said “that includes emails and texts.”

The judge also issued her order as the arrested student came before her for a hearing.

Judge de Jesus Santiago found probable cause on the misdemeanor charge of interfering with an educational institution.

There will be another hearing at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday on the felony charge of written threats to kill or cause bodily injury.

An assistant public defender objected to that charge, saying there was no threat to any specific persons and a previous legal case about an alleged threat on Twitter determined that there had to be a threat to a person in a social media post for criminal charges to be filed.

The threats, posted on social media, were made against John A. Ferguson Senior High School, Felix Varela High School and South Dade Senior High.

The student attends one of the three schools and it was learned in court that she could miss 20 days of classes before returning to school and also faces suspension.

The student, who is not being identified because she is a juvenile, is on home detention and came to court with her parents. Her grade and age are not being disclosed.

After the hearing, the student and her father sprinted away outside the Children’s Courthouse and the student’s mother refused to answer questions from CBS4’s Peter D’Oench.

School officials are not saying which of the three schools she attended.

Several police officers could be seen outside Felix Varela High School early Monday morning. It was a similar scene at Ferguson Senior High just a few miles away.

“I take it very seriously,” said Jessica Betancourt, a senior at Ferguson Senior High.

She heard about an Instagram post that said anyone from Ferguson, Dade or Varela don’t go to school tomorrow and with it a picture of what appears to be a rifle.

“Today, we had testing and a lot of students missed because of that,” said Betancourt.

However, early Monday morning parents were notified that the schools and students were safe.

Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho posted on Twitter that the school’s police department looked into them and gave the all clear.

“I think it’s horrible most kids are on social media constantly although I see it’s an epidemic. I’m trying to force my children to use it less but it’s unavoidable. We rely on it and trust it,” said parent Marlene Ramirez.

According to Miami Dade Public Schools, the student faces discipline under the code of student conduct.

“There are consequences and it’s a good lesson,” said Ramirez.

“I think she was just trying to get attention from people,” said a student.

School officials say they take these social media threats very seriously and have a strong message for students and parents.

“To students, we want them to think before they post. What they post could have serious consequences and could have repercussions for a long time as it could be in this case with this particular student being arrested,” said Daisy Gonzalez-Diego, a Miami -Dade schools spokeswoman.

“This caused a lot of concern for parents and we wanted to send a strong message that this will not be tolerated,” she told D’Oench. “We are always talking to students and trying to instill in them a sense of social media responsibility that we want students to do it in a responsible way.”

Gonzalez-Diego said there had been an increase is such written threats because of the prevalence of social media and the number of students with access to it.

“We encourage kids that if they see something to say something,” she said. “We also encourage them to post positive things. Remember that whatever you put on social media will last for a long time. Sometimes student don’t understand the repercussions with something that is as easy as a click. We want students to think about that.”

More from Peter D'Oench
Comments

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From CBS Miami

Weather Forecast 24/7
Get Your Daily Dose
Mother's Day Is Right Around The Corner

Watch & Listen LIVE