School district changes parent notification system after threats

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There have been more than a dozen threats against schools in the past week on the Gulf Coast and one school district in Northwest Florida is making some changes in how it notifies parents.

These threats come just a week after a deadly school shooting in south Florida.

“This is not a joke,” Pensacola Police Public Information Officer Mike Wood said. “It’s very easy for us to track down these social media posts and when we do, we’ll arrest you.”

These threats have been happening nearly every day in our area. In Escambia County, there were three arrests for separate incidents at Booker T. Washington High, Workman Middle, Pensacola State College and Pensacola High. Two of those arrests were felonies.

“We need you to just pause a moment and wait,” said Escambia County School District Superintendent Malcolm Thomas.

That’s Thomas’ message to parents in his district. When a school is under lockdown, they’ve always waited until the event has ended before notifying parents but now, they will get the word out faster whether its on campus or nearby.

“We’ll let parents know we have an event outside of our campus,” he said. “We’re going to raise the security level in the school. Bare with us. Our law enforcement partners are working on this and we’ll let you know when this event is over. So we’ll actually be making two calls. One when it starts and one when it ends. We hope that will calm parents.”

Police say if there is a lockdown, it’s best for parents to not go to the school because you won’t be able to get in to pick up your student anyway.

The school district also encourages all parents and guardians to make sure the most up-to-date contact information is on file at your child’s school. 

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