Hillsborough school threats doubling, despite threat of felony charge

Hillsborough County

RUSKIN, Fla. (WFLA) – There have been more than twice as many reported threats in Hillsborough schools this semester than actual school days.

The latest threat came Tuesday when a 16-year-old girl at Lennard High School in Ruskin was arrested after she made a shooting threat and told her classmates she wanted to “build a death camp” and “make kids disappear.”

Deputies arrested the girl despite finding no evidence that she could have carried out the threat.

Even though deputies found no real threat, it’s still a very real problem.

Making a written school-shooting threat became a felony in 2018, under the Marjory Stoneman Douglas public safety act. But it’s not stopping threats.

In fact, in Hillsborough County…they’re accelerating.

8 On Your Side got the numbers from the sheriff’s office:

147 total threats have been made against Hillsborough schools so far this school year. On average, that boils down to more than two threats per school day.

It’s also nearly twice the 80 threats made during the same time frame last school year.

“I’m not a fan of believing we are going to arrest our way out of any type of problem,” Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister said.

Which is why Sheriff Chad Chronister says to shift the focus to mental health in schools and parents, taking a more proactive approach.

“They’ve already upgraded this from a misdemeanor to a felony and our number of reported incidents are almost doubling,” Chronister said. “So we know that’s not a deterrent”

We asked but Hillsborough schools could not comment on what disciplinary action the student at Lennard could face for her actions.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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