There have been 103 school threats made against Lee County school this school year.
None of the threats became real, but the bad news is Lee County is closing in on the 164 school threats made in 2018, the year of the Parkland school shooting.
Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said if a student makes a threat against a school, there will be zero tolerance.
“I want parents and guardians to sit their children down and tell them you might think it’s cool to make a threat, you may be joking around when you make that threat, but in this county, you will go to jail,” Marceno said.
That claim is familiar, but it’s next to impossible to verify because the state attorney’s office hardly ever lets the public know if those children go to jail.
“Every threat that comes in no matter how big or how small gets investigated immediately,” Marceno said.
This year, two Harns Marsh Middle School students were arrested for a planned Columbine-style attack.
Students have also been arrested at Cypress Lake High School and Mariner High School.
Rob Spicker, a spokesman with the Lee County school district, said law enforcement and the school district will stand for it.
“You’re looking at easily a suspension, possibly expulsion, certainly discipline,” Spicker said.
Parents say they fear threats against their children and their schools.
“Something has to be done because I can guarantee you it’s going to get worse before it gets better,” said Susan Rudoi, a parent.
Rebecca Wissert, a parent, said protecting students is a team effort.
The sheriff’s office and the school district ask that if parents or students see or hear of a threat, report it right away.
“It’s kind of mind-boggling that these children are even thinking about this stuff, said Jennifer Gagnon, a parent. “But then it’s like do I even feel safe sending her back to school because if one student is thinking that way how many other kids?”
Marceno asks parents to keep track of their children’s online activity.
“That is critically important here. You know as a parent or a guardian if your child is on the computer you should know what they’re looking at,” Marceno said.