Helping students get the message on school threats

Published: September 22, 2022 5:31 PM EDT
Updated: September 23, 2022 7:05 AM EDT

School threat messages are not a joke, but they keep happening; on Thursday, a hand-written threat was found in a girl’s bathroom at Riverdale High School.

The written threat said, “I’mma shoot da school if I fail the EOC again.”

Last week, the South Fort Myers High School threat, which turned out to be a hoax, left students and parents scared to return.

The message is crystal clear to students leaving no room for any obfuscation. If you make fake threats you will deal with real consequences such as expulsion, criminal prosecution, and maybe jail time.

school threat
Students outside of South Fort Myers High School when the shooting threat happened. (CREDIT: WINK News)

Nevertheless, it seems no matter how often the sheriff, superintendent, teachers, or parents talk to the kids about the punishment, the message isn’t getting through.

Diana Salazar, a Sunshine State licensed clinical social worker, spoke with WINK News about the matter.

“It’s culturally acceptable, you know, amongst their peers to do those types of threats. And I think that’s the major problem. And, in reality, I think it’s also a cry for help,” Salazar said.

WINK News asked retired FGCU professor Abbe Finn for her take on what is going on.

“When my daughter was a teenager, she did something that I was disciplining her over. And she looked at me and she said, ‘Mom, it was just an error in judgment,’ and I said, ‘You know, Katie, people in cemeteries and in prisons, likewise, just made errors in judgment. So you have to be careful about what you do because there are consequences,'” Finn said.

If a child who makes a threat is crying out for help, then parents, teachers, and counselors are the first line of defense.