‘Think about how scared your parents will be,’ Pasco superintendent tells students

Pasco schools superintendent Kurt Browning delivers a message on social media threats to students. [Pasco County school district]
Pasco schools superintendent Kurt Browning delivers a message on social media threats to students. [Pasco County school district]
Published March 5 2018

Press conferences and comments to reporters after student arrests have not gotten the message about the seriousness of social media threats across as well as Pasco schools superintendent Kurt Browning would have liked.

So Browning has turned to social media himself to urge students to stop making or sharing threats of violence against schools. Whether made of frustration or in jest, the remarks get taken seriously by school and law enforcement personnel, and can land students in hot water, Browning said in a Facebook video aimed directly at students.

"It's not funny," Browning said in his 3-minute comments, which principals also were asked to show to all students. "Even if you think you're joking with friends about shooting up a school, someone will report it. … I don't want you guys to jeopardize your future by making a stupid mistake."

He noted that even a hoax causes widespread panic, disrupts school and wastes law enforcement resources. If students don't care about that, he continued, "think about how scared your parents will be if they believe you are in danger."

Browning encouraged students to send any threats they hear of directly to a school or law enforcement official, and not to just pass it along the social media transom.

"Please use good judgment and common sense," he said, asking students to send any ideas they have about how to stem threats to him directly via email, Facebook or Twitter.

The district dealt with 19 threat rumors in the first week after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High shooting in Broward County.

Superintendent Message to Students

Superintendent Browning recorded this video to speak with middle school and high school students about being responsible on social media. Students will be viewing the video in their classes with their teachers.

Posted by Pasco County Schools on Thursday, March 1, 2018
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