PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. – Three 12-year-old students who attend Silver Trail Middle School in Pembroke Pines were arrested Sunday after authorities were notified about threatening messages that were posted on SnapChat.
Principal Steve Frazier notified parents about the incident Monday morning.
He said the Pembroke Pines Police Department and Broward County Public Schools’ Special Investigative Unit investigated the threats and arrested the three students.
“I want to remind all of our students and families how seriously any and all threats are taken,” Frazier wrote in an email to parents. “Parents, please speak with your children to remind them that any threat- even if they think it is a joke - will result in tough consequences. School safety is all of our responsibility. If you see something - please say something.”
Parents whose students attend the school were shocked to learn of the arrests.
“It is crazy,” said parent Maria Belkey. “They need to take this situation very seriously.”
All three students, two boys and a girl, face a second-degree felony charge for making a written threat to do bodily harm or commit an act of terrorism. One student faces an additional second-degree felony charge for conspiracy to commit a criminal offense.
“Whether written as a joke or a prank, all threats made against our schools will be taken seriously,” a statement from the Pembroke Pines Police Department read. “Threats of this nature are severe offenses, and any individual who has committed such acts will be charged accordingly.
“The Pembroke Pines Police Department and Broward County Public Schools have been creating and distributing strong messaging to its families about the severity of consequences that will occur to students who use social media or any other means to threaten our schools, students or teachers.”
Both police and school officials urge parents to explain to their children the consequences that making an online threat could have, whether or not they are intended as a joke.
“I will have that conversation with my son,” Belkey said.