Orlando enacts policy to make social media threats against schools illegal

Orlando enacts policy to make social media threats against schools illegal
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The city of Orlando took steps Monday to make it a crime to make threats on social media against schools, businesses or other buildings in the city, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

The policy, which will be enacted immediately, makes it a misdemeanor to make a threat against a campus. Previously, authorities could arrest someone who made a threat that’s deemed a hoax, but could not arrest someone for making a vague threat that isn’t carried out, the newspaper reported.

Such a policy change typically requires two public hearings, but city officials expedited its approval.

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The move comes after a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where 17 people were killed and several others were injured on Feb. 14. 

In the aftermath of the shooting, several copycat threats were made against schools across the country, leading to arrests in California, Nevada, Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

Law enforcement has faced criticism following the shooting after it was reported the alleged gunman, Nikolas Cruz, made threats online that he planned to carry out a school shooting, but nothing was done.

The FBI has said it failed to follow protocol when a call was placed on its tip line warning that Cruz was unsettled and violent.

The Broward County sheriff is also under scrutiny after it was revealed the agency received roughly two dozen complaints about Cruz’s behavior. State lawmakers have asked Gov. Rick Scott (R) to suspend Sheriff Scott Israel for his department’s response.