After more arrests, schools warn: stop clowning around

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Threats are no laughing matter. That is something two students learned through experience in Zephyrhills.

Pasco County Sheriff's deputies arrested two middle school students after receiving reports of death threats targeting teachers. The letters surfaced at Raymond B. Stewart Middle School at 38505 10th Avenue Tuesday. Authorities said other students found and reported the papers. At least one paper made reference to the killer clown "Sprinkles." The arrested teens face felony charges.

This comes after Pasco Deputies arrested a 12-year-old boy for posting a threatening social media message last week.

A new law took effect October 1, strengthening penalties for threats of violence. Threats involving firearms are considered second degree felonies, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

A spokesperson for the Pasco County School District shared the following statement:

"The superintendent has put together a video message that we sent out to parents asking them for their help reminding students of the serious consequences of making threatening statements in writing or in social media. We have had four students arrested just this school year. We have the new law making it a felony to threaten a school shooting. We are working with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office and now asking for the parents help. [We want to communicate to students] it's foolish, even if they think they are joking around."

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