In what has become a troubling trend in the wake of the Parkland shootings on Valentine’s Day, the Broward Sheriff’s Office has made another arrest of a student who it said has used a social media platform to make threats against a school.
This time it was a sixth-grader who threatened to kill students at a Lauderdale Lakes school, BSO said on Tuesday. The unnamed student has been arrested and faces a felony charge of intimidation.
According to BSO, on Monday night, the 13-year-old girl posted a threat on Instagram that students at Central Charter School would be killed this week. She gave two dates: Feb. 20 or Feb. 22.
BSO’s Violent Crimes Unit investigated the threatening message. On Tuesday, the girl told deputies that the post was just a joke. But her parents were concerned enough to keep their daughter home from school for the day — not knowing at the time that she made the threat, BSO said.
Posts like that strike fear in an already wounded community that is struggling to cope with the aftermath of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shootings that left 17 students and teachers dead.
On Sunday, four days after Nikolas Cruz, 19, a former Stoneman Douglas student, opened fire at the Parkland school with an AR-15 semiautomatic weapon, a 15 year-old was arrested and charged with sending a written threat to kill. Detectives say he posted a message on social media threatening to kill people at several Broward schools. He, too, told deputies the post was meant to be in jest.
A day earlier, on Thursday, Davie police announced the arrest of an 11-year-old girl, who they say wrote a threatening note and slipped it under the assistant principal’s door. In Miami-Dade, school threats skyrocketed from a norm of one per week to 50 a day. A 13-year-old student at Miami Lakes Middle School was arrested for one such threat.
A South Carolina students’ social media threat warning of a “round 2 in Florida” on Thursday even had ripple effects at Broward schools last week, including Western High and J.P. Taravella High. Parents swamped the Davie Police Department with calls after they saw the poster’s ominous photo and threat on Snapchat.
BSO has said it will continue to investigate every threat and prosecute them to the “fullest extent.”
The department encourages everyone to continue reporting any suspected threats by calling 954-764-4357 or Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477.