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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – An arrest has been made following the investigation into a social media threat made against faculty and students at Young Men’s Preparatory Academy in Miami.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools have confirmed a student was arrested Tuesday and the threat has been deemed a hoax.
Earlier in the day, Miami Dade County Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho tweeted about the investigation.
Social media threat @YMPA_LIONS being investigated by @MDSPD. Police attempting to locate source. In abundance of caution, extra police presence at school. @MDSPD has investigated dozens of written/verbal threats since August, several of them resulting in arrests. #ZeroTolerance
— Alberto M. Carvalho (@MiamiSup) December 18, 2018
He wrote, “Social media threat @YMPA_LIONS being investigated by @MDSPD. Police attempting to locate source. In abundance of caution, extra police presence at school. @MDSPD has investigated dozens of written/verbal threats since August, several of them resulting in arrest. #ZeroTolerance.”
Miami-Dade County Public Schools has received a total of 47 threats so far this school year, which have resulted in nine arrests; the most recent being today’s, according to school officials.
These hoax threats disrupt the schools’ educational environment and interfere with police officers’ ability to protect schools from real dangers; drain law enforcement resources; cost taxpayers’ money; and increase stress levels, anxiety and absenteeism.
“In recent weeks, the school district has been barraged by social media threats most of which have been non-credible,” said Schools Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho. “Hoax and prank threats of any kind targeting schools makes balancing school safety and classroom instruction difficult. As a community, we have an obligation to encourage everyone, especially children, to use social media responsibly. The consequences of doing otherwise can be detrimental to a child’s future.”
School officials say Miami-Dade Schools Police Department takes every threat seriously and is working closely with other law enforcement agencies to investigate each one in order to determine the validity of the threat and identify the perpetrator.
They want to remind the public that anyone making such a threat will likely be identified; a written threat to kill or harm is a felony that will not be tolerated; and perpetrators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. As of Tuesday, eight arrests have already been made.
Earlier this year, the School Board approved an item endorsing the FBI’s Education Awareness Campaign, #ThinkBeforeYouPost, on the consequences of posting hoax threats to schools and other public places.
Even with all the precautions in place, school officials want to remind the community that vigilance continues to be the most effective way to prevent dangerous situations. Through the See Something, Say Something initiative, anyone who witnesses suspicious activity is encouraged to call 305-995-COPS or contact the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) via tips.fbi.gov or via phone (1-800-CALL-FBI).