Local school districts and law enforcement are warning of harsh consequences for those caught making threats to schools.
In Clay County alone, there have been 11 school threats since the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“We will take every call seriously,” Clay County Schools Superintendent Addison Davis said. “We will take every social post seriously.”
Davis made the remarks as some parents at Oakleaf High School allowed their kids to stay home from school.
“Very concerned,” Cedric Grant, who has a ninth grader at Oakleaf, said. “As soon as he came [home last night] he said ‘dad, I don’t think I need to go to school tomorrow because of this threat.’ And he said ‘I’m kinda scared.’”
Threats have targeted schools across Northeast Florida in the wake of the Parkland shooting.
“We have zero tolerance,” Davis said. “And the consequences could lead to out of school suspensions up to expulsion.”
The consequences go beyond the school system.
Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels warned people caught making threats will be charged, ranging from a misdemeanor to a second-degree felony.
“You say ‘aw, poor little Timmy doesn’t need to go to jail.’ Well poor little Timmy doesn’t need to be making threats to the other kids,” Sheriff Daniels said. “There are so many ways that that can ruin your life, to be a convicted felon. Ask any convicted felon and they’ll be sure to let you know.”
A Palatka teen was charged with a felony for a school threat last week.
Each threat costs taxpayers big bucks. Daniels said they vet, investigate and respond to each one.
“To have an officer, a dedicated person at all the schools for that one day, during school hours, that was $12,000 of taxpayers’ dollars,” Daniels said. “In resources that could’ve been dedicated to something else.”
Both the Sheriff and Superintendent urged parents to talk to their kids to find out what’s going on in their lives, what social media accounts they have and who they’re hanging out with. They also emphasized the importance of reporting anything that could be suspicious or threatening.