Local school administrations work proactively to identify school threats

Local school administrations work proactively to identify school threats

BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - A social media post led to the arrest of a 14-year-old St. Martin student last weekend.

When it came out late Friday, St. Martin school leaders worked to identify the student and informed the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, who had the 14-year-old in custody by Saturday morning.

St. Martin parents were also notified through a message, which stated threats will not be tolerated.

Biloxi Student Services Director Jonathan Anderson says he and other Coast school administration take these threats seriously, no matter the person or the context of the alleged threat.

"When we find out, we're kind of all over it. We go into it, and we check to see if we need to go forward or pull back,” Anderson said. “We work to make a good, informed decision. We still want to use good common sense."

It’s the second time during this academic year that a social media threat was made towards a Coast school.

"Even if you don't have the means to carry out the attack, or you just say it's a joke or whatever it may be, you still may be charged with it,” said Mario Weekly, Biloxi campus security chief. “And with us, we have a zero-tolerance policy. If you make a threat toward the school, you will be arrested for it."

That law that administrators at Biloxi and other Coast schools have in place was passed by state lawmakers last session. Senate Bill 2141 basically makes any type of threat made towards schools or other institutions a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

"I would educate your kids on it. If you make a threat on the telephone, cell phone, email, all that... Just educate your kids on what to say and what not to say,” Weekly added.

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