A surge of violent threats, tips and false alarms aimed at schools has inundated school districts and police departments in the days after the deadly shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fl., reports the New York Times. In Hitchcock, Tex., an 18-year-old student told a teacher that he would turn their school into “another Florida.” In Brethren, Mi., a 17-year-old student was arrested after the sheriff’s office received a call from a principal saying that the student had threatened to attack the high school. An AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle was found at the teen’s home. A father in Shorewood Hills, Wi., walked into his child’s elementary school, entered a classroom and handed the teacher a piece of cardboard with the word “gun” written on it. The move provoked panic, fear and a call to the police department. The man was arrested, accused of disorderly conduct.
Every school day in the week after Feb. 14, the day of the Florida attack, at least 50 threats or violent incidents at schools were reported across the U.S., says the Educator’s School Safety Network, an advocacy organization that has tracked news reports of threats and violence since 2016. Normally, the group records an average of 10 to 12 incidents a day. The count includes many false alarms or hoaxes. The sharp increase in threats and false alarms in the days since the Florida shooting reflects the intense public conversation and media coverage since that attack. Florida had at least 31 incidents in the week after the shooting, more than any other state; Ohio followed, with 29; and Kentucky was third, with 24. Other states that experienced unusually high numbers of threats, false alarms or other incidents included California, Georgia, Mississippi, New York, Texas and Virginia. Dozens of teenagers have been arrested in connection with threats, often posted on Twitter or Snapchat.