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What is driving school violence threats on TikTok?

Police asking questions after Mariner Middle threat
Posted at 6:44 PM, Dec 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-16 18:55:42-05

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — With a recent threat of violence made against Mariner Middle School, Phil Mullen with Cape Coral PD says that they're concerned. They say threats made against schools on social media platforms like TikTok are becoming all too common.

"Making these threats is a very very serious crime and it’s going to affect you for the rest of your life. Treating it like a joke, treating it like a social media trend, it’s silly," says Mullen.

But how serious of a crime is it?

Well, the Lee County School District page explains it clearly - filing a false report concerning planting a bomb, an explosive, or the use of firearms is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to ten thousand dollars.

Despite the consequences, Dr. Dave Thomas, an FGCU professor who studies school shootings, says the reason complicated.

“Kids don’t understand, recognize the severity of the consequences…and that’s being a kid,” says Dr. Thomas.

He says students should be taught to remember consequences do NOT only impact them…but their families as well.

“Think about every tragic incident that’s happened in this country…think about…and the parents of that child. They are stuck with those consequences. They are stuck with having to apologize. Well that’s the same thing here,”

Thinking about consequences...something Corporal Mullen is also emphasizing.

“Every small thing might become a big thing, and we have to investigate it," says Mullen.