By Kevin Deutsch
A student has been arrested as part of the investigation into social media threats made against Coral Springs schools over the weekend, officials said.
On Monday, the social media posts threatened to shoot students at Coral Glades High School and other local schools, spurring alarm among local parents.
“The District’s Special Investigative Unit and law enforcement are aware of social media threats made over the weekend toward several schools,” Broward County Public Schools said in a prepared statement. “For one of these incidents, a student was arrested by law enforcement. We want to assure our families and community that all threats, including social media posts of a threatening nature, made towards any staff and students are taken seriously and will be thoroughly investigated.”
The district said law enforcement was working closely with the District’s Special Investigative Unit “to identify those responsible and are and taking additional security measures at schools to ensure the safety of all students and staff.”
The social media posts referenced school bullying and included an explicit threat.
Several parents shared the posts on social media and said they were keeping their children home from school.
“We are aware of a supposed threat made on Instagram,” Coral Glades High School Assistant Principal Michele Stein wrote in an email to parents Monday morning. “The school district and the Coral Springs Police Department are investigating what appears to be a threat made to multiple schools with the same message. Our message has our name superimposed over the original school name. Coral Springs Police continue to investigate, and we will have additional personnel at our school today just in case. Please do not engage in any rumors or innuendo.”
In a video message to students, parents, and school staffers Monday, Broward Public Schools Interim Superintendent Dr. Vickie Cartwright said the threats were more serious than the vandalism committed by students in the wake of recent TikTok challenges and would “not be tolerated.”
“These threats are specific to schools and sometimes include staff members,” said Cartwright. “These social media threats are being done through Instagram and possibly Snapchat and appear to be similar to one another by stating a threat to harm teachers and students at a specific school. We are taking these posts extremely seriously.”
“Throughout the weekend and today, we have been and are working closely with multiple law enforcement agencies,” said Cartwright. “Furthermore, we are providing additional security measures for the schools that have been targeted. Again, I want you to know that these threats will not be tolerated, and we are taking each and every one of them earnestly and swiftly.”
Cartwright thanked members of the public who have sent the district screenshots of the threats and encouraged them to do so in the future at email@example.com.
“For anyone sharing social media threats using screenshots with us, please feel free to share the list of people who like the post via a screenshot along with the original post,” the superintendent said. “This additional information helps tremendously as we investigate each threat.”
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- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.
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