After Parkland, local schools see rise in threats
Ross Samek never worried about the day his 2-year-old would be heading off to school, but he says seeing a threat to another school almost every day is hard to ignore.
“You really have to take each one seriously,” Samek said.
In just over two weeks, Lee County deputies have investigated 40 school threats, and in Collier County, deputies have responded to 27.
Lee County says only two of those actually resulted in arrests, and in Collier, only four did.
Former Police Lieutenant David Grossi says detectives have a lot of work to do when a school threat comes in to find out whether it’s legitimate.
“The things that officers have to look at, is does this individual have the means to carry out this particular threat?” Grossi said.
He also says that resources to do that are expensive and time-consuming. And if investigators learn the threat is a fake, that time is wasted.
“It takes a lot of resources away from officers who could be doing something else to investigate these other threats,” he said.
But it’s still necessary.
“If you don’t investigate one and that turns out to be something, who’s responsible for that?” Grossi said.
Samek says he thinks most students don’t take this seriously enough.
“They don’t understand the repercussions of their actions. I think they need to be held accountable even if it is just a minor threat,” Samek said.
Some schools have suspended students for making verbal or online threats, but Grossi says if it’s credible, they could face time behind bars.
“If you purchased a weapon or you showed a picture of a weapon on Instagram or Snap Chat, that’s the overt act that’s in furtherance to the threat, and you could be charged. You could be prosecuted and there’s a possibility you could wind up going to jail,” Grossi said.
As schools work to find new ways to keep students safe, Grossi adds that having to respond to multiple reports of non-credible threats can be tasking.
The public is asked to submit a tip if they see something suspicious. You can submit information anonymously by downloading the P3 app for Android and Apple devices here.