Important Lessons: Students at Somerset Academy Charter School create PSA to prevent peers from making fake threats

(WSVN) - School threats are becoming a far too common reality for South Florida students. Most turn out to be pranks, but those pranks come with big consequences. That’s why one group of students is teaching an important lesson. 7’s Brian Entin reports.

Ever since the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, South Florida schools have been dealing with an increasing number of threats, and they’re coming from students. Fortunately, most of those threats turn out to be student pranks.

Bernardo Montero, principal at Somerset Academy Charter School: “The mistakes those kids are making are huge mistakes, and they are paying dearly for those mistakes.”

Each threat has to be investigated, and each threat leaves students terrified.

Student: “I was scared because there was a gun in the beginning of the post.”

When a student here at Somerset Academy Charter School in Pembroke Pines was arrested in November for making a false threat, administrators decided to find a new way to teach students that making these threats is no joke.

Bernardo Montero: “I find that students at times don’t really want to hear adults speak as much as they enjoy having their peers address them with mature issues.”

Somerset turned to its film club to come up with an idea, and the students created this public service announcement.

Student in PSA video: “A joke is a thing someone says to cause amusement or laughter. This is not a joke.”

It explains the consequences of making a false threat.

Student in PSA video: “Any person convicted thereof commits a felony of the second degree.”

Senior Samantha Garzon and her classmates wanted their project to make a serious point.

Samantha Garzon: “I took the actual police report that they posted on our website and I actually just took the lines that they had and I just put them in the script. We grabbed some kids from the hallway and volunteers from film club, and they just said the line.”

Student in PSA video: “That means up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.”

Film club sponsor Jessica Costelo said the students really embraced the project.

Jessica Costelo: “The Stoneman Douglas shooting was very impactful on them, and it’s something that a lot of our students struggle with.”

Making the video allowed the students to talk to their classmates about this serious issue in their own creative way.

Jessica Costelo: “I think it was really great for film club to see that they can make an impact with the work that they do, that film is not just for entertainment purposes. It can be more powerful than that.”

Student in PSA video: “This is not a joke. If you see something, say something.”

The video is being shared in study hall periods at the Somerset campus in hopes that students finally realize that fake threats have very real consequences.

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