An online threat circulating social media to shoot up a school is believed by investigators to be a widespread hoax.
“MARK THE DATE 5/5/23 FRIDAY I WILL MAKE HISTORY AS THE TOP SCHOOL SLAUGHTER,” the threat reads.
It alludes to other students being involved and using bombs, but it doesn’t include a specific school, county, or even state.
The threat has been circulating mostly through south Florida in school districts in Martin, Okeechobee, Indian River, St. Lucie, and Palm Beach Counties.
It is now circulating through Brevard County. The post being shared is the same one that has been circulating everywhere else.
“Of course, that created panic, rightfully so, across our entire county,” said Chief Deputy John Budensiek of the Martin County Sheriff’s Office. “And I’m getting texts even now as we speak about that.”
Budensiek said the sheriff’s office had received 55 calls about the threat by 7 p.m.
It led to the Martin County School District issuing an alert to parents.
Similar alerts were sent from school districts in Okeechobee, Indian River, St. Lucie, and Palm Beach Counties.
Brevard Public Schools issued a statement:
The school district, each BPS school and law enforcement are aware of warnings trending on social media regarding threats of violence. The threat is being shared across the state via social media and is not local to Brevard County. We expect today to be a normal school day and we look forward to welcoming our students to school this morning.
“It sets into motion a whole chain of events that really is chaotic across the board for the sheriff’s office, for the school board and our students,” Budensiek said.
Between investigating the threat and adding security, Budensiek said it could mean as many as 100 deputies tied up on this one threat that investigators do not believe is real.
And he said he’s concerned all the fake threats could lead to complacency.
“I don’t want our residents, our students, their parents, our deputies to be just like, ‘OK, this is white noise. This is our new normal,’” he said. “Because someday, it may be real.”