FORT LAUDERDALE, FL (December 12, 2019) – As reported in an online news article published by patch.com, a 16-year-old Florida boy is the third student in less than one week to make threats against schools, according to the local Sheriff's Office.
Reports indicate that the 16-year-old Florida boy allegedly made threats against a high school where he was a junior. According to the Sheriff's Office, "the school was placed on a code red Friday, Dec. 6, after school employees received texts and emails warning there would be a shooting at the school." The Sheriff's Office further states that "the school was thoroughly searched as detectives followed leads in an attempt to identify the sender."
Faculty and students continued to receive additional threatening messages earlier this week, causing the school to be placed on code yellow. Detectives were able to identify the 16-year-old high school junior to be the alleged offender. The teenager was arrested and transported to the Juvenile Assessment Center, where he will face charges of making a false report concerning the use of a firearm and writing threats to kill.
Earlier in the week, the Sheriff's Office revealed that a 12-year-old girl had been arrested for allegedly threatening to kill students at a middle school, a threat that purportedly made over Snapchat. In the same week, a 14-year-old girl was arrested and accused of falsely reporting bomb threats to a middle school and elementary school.
Making Threats to Kill or Do Great Bodily Injury at Schools in Florida
Florida takes threats to schools and students very seriously. Under Florida Statute Section 836.10, a person may be charged with and convicted of making threats to kill, do great bodily injury, conduct a mass shooting, or commit an act of terrorism if he or she does the following:
- Writes or composes a letter or statement (whether written, typed, or produced electronically) that contains a threat to kill or to do bodily injury to a certain person(s) or group(s);
- Sends the written letter or statement to the targeted person(s) or group(s); and
- The written letter or statement contains words that clearly reveal a threat to kill, do great bodily injury, to conduct a mass shooting, or to conduct an act of terrorism.
This crime is considered a second-degree felony and is punishable by up to 15 years in jail and a fine of not more than $10,000. Additionally, potential penalties include probation and a tarnished criminal record that will make it impossible to purchase a firearm in the future, as well as make it very difficult to obtain employment, attend a college or university, or find suitable housing.
Many threats to kill, to do great bodily injury, to conduct a mass shooting, or to commit an act of terrorism are made so electronically via text messages, emails, postings on group forums, and social media postings (such as Facebook, Twitter Snapchat, and Instagram, among others). Because so many threats are made online, Florida law absolves from liability any internet service providers, hosting service providers, or any other provider of computer/electronic services that involve the transmission or storage of information pertaining to a threat.