Florida School Violence Threat Epidemic
Feb. 14 marked one of the worst mass shootings Florida has seen since the Pulse Nightclub massacre in 2016. The tragedy has reignited debates over gun control and safety in American schools. On top of that, an epidemic of threats aimed at other schools has been spreading not only throughout Florida, but all over the country as well.
Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota was the most recent Florida school to receive a threat via social media. Classes were cancelled Feb. 26 after a threatening post surfaced on Snapchat over the weekend. The school reopened Tuesday but no suspects have been arrested at the time of this writing. There have been approximately 90 threats made against schools in Florida since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which claimed the lives of 17 students, faculty and staff members. 14 others were injured in the shooting.
“Everyone seems to want to use it as an opportunity to shout their opinion about gun control or arming teaching,” FSC senior Sydney Locasto said. “I think we all need to take a look around and realize that there are people who are dead and we don’t even have a moment to mourn those passed without someone spouting an opinion or another shooting or act of mass violence occurring.”
In regards to the overall feeling of safety on Florida Southern College’s campus, students had mixed feelings and reactions about whether or not the school would be able to handle an attack.
“I think the buildings themselves are safe enough, but I do think that more security would be better,” FSC Senior Emma Morton said. “If something were to happen over by the Buckstop… I’m not certain the school has any sort of emergency plan in place.”
Locasto shared a different sentiment, stating that the school isn’t properly equipped to handle such an emergency given that “Branscomb floods every single time it rains too hard,” and pointing out Ordway’s vulnerability as well.
The above map shows the locations of each threat placed against schools since the Parkland shooting (red) in addition to walkouts and rallies (purple).
Students have been taking it upon themselves to protest this outbreak of violence. There have been multiple cases where high school students have walked out of class in protest of gun violence and in support of the Parkland victims. The latest wave of support came from Pompano Beach High School, where students walked for nearly six hours from their campus to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
#RIGHT #NOW Another wave of students from Palm Beach County have made it to the high school. 10 miles in 3+ hours. “We’re exhausted, but couldn’t be prouder to be here,” a senior said. pic.twitter.com/GN2WAJPjts
— Carlos Suarez (@CarlosWPLG) February 20, 2018
Other schools such as Deerfield Beach, Cypress Bay, Coral Glades, Monarch High and more have also organized walkouts, and more are in the works according to the Student Walkout Against Gun Violence group on Twitter.