Parkland non-profit teaches educators, cops how to spot potential online threats

CORAL SPRINGS, FLA. (WSVN) - Threats posted on social media against schools are becoming more and more common, and police officers and school officials are being trained to spot the trouble in the hopes of preventing another tragedy.

Non-profit organization Stand with Parkland gathered Thursday to teach educators and law enforcement how to spot the online threats.

“[It’s] not to incarcerate anybody. It’s not to profile anybody. It’s to identify those that need help and then get them the help they need,” said Tony Montalto, who lost his daughter, Gina Montalto, in the Parkland shooting.

Confessed Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz is an extreme example of a person posting such threats online.

“He had made it very clear that he intended to shoot up a school,” said Ryan Petty, who lost his daughter, Alaina Petty, in the Parkland shooting.

Montalto, Petty and Max Schachter, who lost his son, Alex Schachter in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, added that what students choose to share online can often be a cry for help.

“These are clues that give us a picture into what is going on in the life of that student, so that the right resources can be brought to bear, parents can be made aware,” Petty said.

A workshop at Coral Springs Police’s headquarters was set up to help adults who often do not know the ins and outs of all the different social media networks.

“I cannot stress how much it’s important to really get yourselves familiar with this,” Safer Schools Together founder Theresa Campbell said during the workshop.

Experts said that children are a huge component in spotting threats. They also encourage students that if they see a concerning post or message, they should say something, so that child can get help.

“It is our job, it is school officials’ jobs to really investigate this, to evaluate the threat, the level of the threat and to get the kid the services and the help that they need,” Schachter said. “I was just a dad before this, and I had four children. I only have three now, and in all of us, Stand with Parkland, all the 17 families are just trying to do everything we can to prevent this from happening to other communities around this country.”

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