MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Following a recent string of social media threats against schools, the Miami-Dade County Public School District is now vowing to prosecute all individuals associated with any threats.
The District says the Miami-Dade Schools Police Department has investigated 40 threats since the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year and have made six arrests. Half of those incidents have taken place within the last week and two of those arrests took place on Monday, December 6.READ MORE: Federal Government's N95 Masks Distribution Starts Monday
A 16-year-old girl is charged for making social media threats against Miami Northwestern Senior High and a 15-year-old boy is also charged for social media threats against Miami Senior High. His threat was then altered by other people and reposted on social media, affecting about a dozen other schools.
Hoax threats have seriously disrupted the schools’ educational environment and interfered with police officers’ ability to protect schools from real dangers; drained law enforcement resources; cost taxpayers’ money; and increased stress levels, anxiety, and absenteeism, according to the District.
“Our Schools Police Department will continue to collaborate with federal and local law enforcement partners and the State Attorney’s office to investigate and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law all individuals associated with threats against our schools,” said Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho. “Hoax or not, there will be short- and long-term consequences that will leave indelible marks on the lives of these individuals.”READ MORE: Mark Rosenberg Acknowledges He Resigned As FIU President Because ‘I Caused Discomfort For A Valued Employee’
The District is reminding 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.
“We investigate every threat, including pranks, with extreme vigor,” said Miami-Dade Schools Police Chief Edwin Lopez. “These threats wreak havoc for the entire school community. We urge parents and guardians to speak to their children about the importance of acting responsibly and how negative actions can lead to life-altering repercussions.”
Several years ago, the School Board approved an item endorsing the FBI’s Education Awareness Campaign, #ThinkBeforeYouPost, on the consequences of posting hoax threats on social media regarding schools and other public places.
Even with all the precautions in place, 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).MORE NEWS: Mural Honoring Gloria & Emilio Estefan Unveiled In Little Havana