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FORT MYERS, Fla. – Schools are dealing with a new wave of copycat threats after last month’s elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
The threats are rt of a growing concern for law enforcement. In Florida, investigators have arrested several teenagers and a 10-year-old student in the last two weeks.
“Every single day, our school resource officers are dealing with verbal threats. We see written threats to commit mass shootings,” Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said.
Just two weeks after the Uvalde school shooting, Lee County deputies arrested a student over school shooting threats.
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The student sent pictures of AR-15s to another classmate, writing “Get ready for water day,” in reference to an upcoming event, investigators said. In a statement, the student’s attorney argued the 10-year-old wasn’t trying to threaten anybody.
However, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office has a zero-tolerance policy.
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“The last thing we want to do as law enforcement officers is place a 10-year-old in handcuffs. The last thing we want to do is investigate a 10-year-old for making threats to commit a mass shooting. But, safe kids, safe schools are so important, and not waiting one second, and every single threat is credible until proven otherwise, ”Marceno said.
Investigators are taking the next few months to focus on traning. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office has planned to dedicate 300 hours of training to active shooter threats.
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“We need people that train and that are not going to hesitate one second to perform if a person decides in Lee County, Florida, that they’re going to come to a school and present deadly physical force against our children that are there to learn , against our teachers that are there to teach, against innocent people in our schools. We will not wait one second. They will be met with deadly force, ”Marceno said.
In the aftermath of the Uvalde school shootings, school districts across the country are getting more questions from rents.
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“We want to make sure they know we are doing everything we can to keep them safe. Kids are our future,” said Benjamin Abes, director of Lee County Public Schools Public Safety.
Lee Public County Public Schools has at least one resource officer at every school. Representatives are expected to continue training over the summer, and for the first time, to train wearing VR goggles simulating active-shooter scenarios in schools.