MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Two South Florida students accused of making school threats have been arrested.
The Miami-Dade school district said their police department investigated the threats against several schools on Monday, mostly on social media, and none appeared to be credible.
The first student who was arrested, a 15-year-old, reportedly posted a threat involving Miami Senior High School that was then altered by other people and reposted on social media, affecting several other schools.
"There are copycat threats against schools which quite frankly is unacceptable," said Miami-Dade School Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.
The teen is being charged with a felony count of written threats to kill or do bodily harm.
"We take these matters very seriously. We investigate every one of these threats and we're very successful in identifying the perpetrators," said Carvalho.
"Any act that disrupts the educational environment, depletes police resources, and causes unnecessary stress on students, families, and employees will result in severe consequences," said the district's Chief Communications & Community Engagement Officer Daisy Gonzalez-Diego in a statement.
Gonzalez-Diego confirmed in another statement that the second student arrested was a 16-year-old girl, who is also facing felony charges.
Max Pauly, a 10th grader at Miami Senior High School, told CBS4's Peter D'Oench, "I just heard online that somebody threatened 'don't go to school or you are going to die.' I was kind of scared, but I didn't think this was going to happen. I think it was pretty dumb to do that. I don't think you should do that type of thing."
His mother, Melani, said "My heart started racing when I heard about this and I went and got him."
The arrested 15-year-old appeared in court Monday morning. His attorney said there wasn't any actual proof that the teen was the one to make the threat.
Carvalho said the student was tracked down with the help of the FBI and Secret Service who worked together to identify the IP address that the threat came from.
"We have dealt with about 12 different threats over the past week, including some last night and some this morning. So far, I am pleased to report these are all non-credible threats, they are hoaxes," said Carvalho. "The message to students is not engage in this foolish type of activity. This is a felony and can go on somebody's record. If you had participated in this, we are going to investigate and collaborate with prosecutors to make sure you are prosecuted to full extent of the law."
A long line of anxious parents formed at Coral Reef High School Monday morning who rushed there to pick up their children. They were told by a school police officer that it had been verified that the threat was not credible. The school was one of a dozen or so mentioned in the threats.
The principal of Palmetto Senior High School sent out a message to parents on Monday reassuring them that the school was safe.
"On December 5th, an incident involving a threat was reported at the school. Miami-Dade Schools Police Department, in conjunction with the threat assessment team, investigated the incident. After a thorough investigation, the Miami-Dade Schools Police Department has deemed the incident as non-credible," it said in part.
Christopher Columbus High School was also reportedly threatened. The school sent out the following statement to parents on Monday.
"We have been made aware of the inappropriate social media post. Our Administration acted swiftly to investigate and has responded accordingly. There is no credible threat to students, faculty or staff and all activities will continue as normal at Christopher Columbus High School today. The safety of our students is our top priority. Our campus is open and safe and ready to provide an education to Explorers this morning!"
The Broward Sheriff's Office said they received multiple calls on Sunday with information regarding a school threat at Deerfield Beach Middle School. The calls featured the same Instagram post screenshot that had previously been investigated by BSO's Threat Management Unit on December 4th. The original poster, a 12-year-old female from Deerfield Beach middle, was identified and contacted. The case has been sent to the State Attorney's Office for possible charges.
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