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State News

Florida Launches Campaign To Stop School Threats

The words "it's no joke" are printed over newspaper clipping about arrests being made for school threats.
Florida Department of Juvenile Justice

The state wants kids to understand the trouble they can get into by making school threats. So, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice has launched an awareness campaign called “It’s No Joke.”

Nearly 800 Florida kids were charged with offenses related to school threats in the last fiscal year.

Juvenile Justice Secretary Simone Marstiller says that includes kids who may have just been joking around on social media.

“In today’s environment in which we know that our schools are being targeted and attacked, every single threat like this has to be taken seriously,” Marstiller says. “There are consequences for their behavior. Whether they made it jokingly or not, we are not in a position to assume that it’s a joke. We’re going to assume that it’s a credible threat, and law enforcement is going to pursue that threat accordingly.”

We are not in a position to assume that it is a joke. ~Secretary Simone Marstiller

The campaign will use social media and school outreach to teach students that making a threat against a school can lead to an arrest and a felony charge. School related threats include making false reports of explosives or firearms on campus, and warning students not to go to school.

Marstiller is encouraging parents to monitor their children’s online activities. “It’s important for parents to be aware that if their child makes this kind of a threat online, there are serious consequences to be had.”

Students, parents, and teachers are encouraged to report any threat they see or hear. They can call law enforcement or report it anonymously through the Fortify Florida app.