Nina Nunez never felt uncomfortable going to school. But as a parent, she could not be more worried about sending her 10-year-old daughter off to class.
In the 2016 to 2017 school year, the School District of Lee County recorded a total of 51 school threats. A number that has more than tripled since the last school year.
“To be honest, I will probably never be as a parent feel 100 percent comfortable,” Nunez said. “I know the schools do kind of reassure the parents that they’re okay, but you still never know.”
With every school threats, there is an accompanying investigation. The investigation takes time from law enforcement that can be devoted elsewhere. There is also the stress and anxiety students, parents and staff must deal with from these false alarms.
The School District of Lee County has partnered with all local law enforcement agencies to launch the ‘Fake Threats Real Consequences’ campaign.
It sends students a strong message that there is zero tolerance for a threat against the school or their classmates. Otherwise, they will end up in the back of a police vehicle.
“We don’t want our young folks starting off adulthood with a felony record because of some impulse of social media post,” said Derrick Diggs, the Fort Myers police chief.
Not only can students face suspension or expulsion, they may be given fines up to $10,000 and 15 years in prison.
While parents like Nunez hope the campaign can curb the problem, she also said she would like the school district to become more transparent when a threat arises.
“I think they need to look into it,” Nunez said. “As opposed to saying that it was something so minute that it will be okay.”