M-DCPS joins FBI in warning against posting hoax threats

As the U.S. mourns the victims of senseless and tragic school shootings, Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) and districts around the country are dealing with a rash of social media threats.

Miami-Dade Schools Police Department (M-DSPD) takes every threat seriously and is working closely with other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to investigate each one in order to determine the validity of the threat and identify the perpetrator.

The threats received so far have been unfounded. Unfortunately, these hoax threats are needlessly disrupting the educational environment of schools and interfering with officers’ ability to protect schools from real dangers.

“A threat to the safety and security of our schools and students is an extremely serious matter,” said Alberto M. Carvalho, superintendent of schools. “When false or hoax threats are made, it is counterproductive to the lifesaving work of law enforcement officials who must investigate every single threat.

“Miami-Dade County Public Schools is eager to join the Federal Bureau of Investigation in advancing the #ThinkBeforeYouPost campaign to abate the number of false and prank threats made to schools, particularly on social media networks,” Carvalho added. “There is no humor in compromising the safety and well-being of students, and we will exercise zero tolerance against anyone making hoax threats that target schools.”

The district is reminding the public to be aware that anyone making such a threat will likely be identified. A written threat to kill or harm is a felony that will not be tolerated, and perpetrators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

A federal charge could be included, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Even if federal charges are not warranted, state charges may be considered.

Even with all the precautions in place, the community is reminded that vigilance continues to be the most effective way to prevent dangerous situations. Through the See Something, Say Something initiative, anyone who witnesses suspicious activity is encouraged to call 305-995-COPS or contact the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) via tips.fbi.gov or via phone at 1-800-CALL-FBI.

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