Jacksonville, FL - With a rise in Florida children and teens being charged with making school-related threats, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice is launching a new awareness campaign.
The DJJ says the 'It's No Joke' campaign is about discouraging kids and teens from making school threats by making it clear that they can be arrested and charged with a felony.
"We want young people in Florida to understand that, in today’s environment, every threat is taken very seriously and, even if made in jest, can lead to devastating consequences. There is nothing funny about threatening a school, and there is nothing funny about being charged with a felony. We want young people to think twice before casually threatening violence in their schools," says DJJ Secretary Simone Marstiller in a statement.
The DJJ says it hopes that this campaign educates kids and parents that even threat made online, including on social media, can lead to a felony charge.
New numbers from the DJJ show a rise in the number of Florida youth being charged with school threat-related offenses over the past three years:
- Fiscal Year 2016-2017: 629 children and teens were charged with school threat-related offenses
- Fiscal Year 2017-2018: 687 children and teens were charged with school threat-related offenses
- Fiscal Year 2018-2019: 779 children and teens were charged with school threat-related offenses
The DJJ says it wants students, parents, and teachers to continue to report any and all threats they see or hear.