The Threat to our Futures


Graphic by Megan Bilecki

Rebekah Barrera and Kara Warren

   The dark day of February 14th, 2018 when the lives of 17 young students were taken changed our lives forever. The act of making innocent threats and not-so-funny jokes escalated so that students can now be convicted of a felony. 

   Just a few miles away from our school, at Silver Trail Middle School, 3 students were not only arrested, but also charged with second-degree felony charges. The frustration that arose that night, led to these 12-year-old students to take their anger out on social media. Their Snapchat conversations revealed threatening messages to cause harm to the school. 

   As a school with our own history involving issues with students making ‘harmless threats’, it’s important that we remind each other of the consequences that may arise with our actions. School Resource Officer Bucknam emphasizes how kids who make any type of threat, whether it be a joke or not, can be charged with a second degree felony. He points out that it is “punishable up to 15 years in prison and a fine. It’s a serious thing.”

   A safety notice emailed to parents and students further explains the significance of such consequences, stressing the impression it leaves on kids’ future academic success and career goals. Parents are asked to closely monitor what their children watch and say over social media so as to prevent another incident. 

   Thus, for the sake of everyone’s futures, it’s important for everyone to be on the same page of what is seen as acceptable. While most students understand this, there’s always the few who don’t take it as seriously as needed. Principal Bayer encourages the kids of Pembroke Pines Charter High School, “when a kid steps out of line, you need to say something. Why hope they’re joking? You shouldn’t have to hope someone’s joking.”

   Despite the negative stigma around reporting your own classmates, it’s essential in maintaining a safe environment in our schools. One of our most committed freshmen, Ini Fatimilehin believes that making such dangerous statements goes against the level of trust that we have established within our community: “Schools need to be made a safer environment, and it is our responsibility as students to be respectful to one another. Respect builds trust and safety. We all know growing up is a challenge on its own, so we need to be able to communicate and express ourselves without the fear of being judged.”

   In the midst of recent events and the ongoing pandemic, safety is crucial. Without the specific protection of staying at home to learn, there are inevitable obstacles to slowly going back to a normal world, and school threats only intensify them. Any and all consequences are followed through to ensure the utmost security for everyone.

   “It is, at the end of the day, to protect everybody and keep everybody calm because it’s stressful enough for us,” Mr. Bayer says.