Crackdown on School Threats

Heavenlee Hagan, Assistant Editor

For the 2019-2020 school year, Orange County Public Schools and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department are taking threats made towards the schools, students and administrative humorlessly. Any threat, whether it is verbal, written, called in, or carried out, will be investigated and disciplinary actions conducted by the school and law enforcement will follow.

A new act put into place, Marjory Stoneman Act, mandates all the schools to have school resource officers. High schools all have two, middle schools have one to two, and elementary schools have one.

The penalties have been enhanced for any type of threat made to schools. Just threats are now considered a level 4, meaning grounds for expulsion. The person who makes the threat will also be arrested and handled accordingly. However, in order for the deputies to carry it out criminally, it has to be a valid threat. If someone calls the school and makes a threat but no action is followed, this is a threat, but not one they can act on criminally. If a student showed the deputy a post made by someone on social media, this could be handled immediately, and quickly.

The most effective way to prevent threats and actions, as per our local resource officer, Deputy Mallary, “speak up. We need more people to speak up. The problem is no one wants to be a snitch now… if everybody would just speak up, we could nip things in the bud before it happens.” Reporting any suspicious activities or behavior to an administrator or school resource officer can prevent tragic events, like school shootings, from happening. You can report these things anonymously. “We don’t want to put anyone out there any more than they don’t want to be out there.” Officer Kevin, the temporary resource officer filling in for Deputy Febo while he is away on training, and Deputy Mallary both see speaking up as the number one way to help avert these catastrophes.

Don’t ignore red flags, report it. It’s better to be safe than sorry.