Pasco officials: Threats will be taken seriously

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"Don't come to school tomorrow…I'm going to shoot the place up."

That's what New Port Richey police say a 16-year-old student at Gulf High told another kid on Wednesday.
It was reported, and now the teen is under arrest.

”These students need to be careful what they say. It does matter. It can affect their entire life," said New Port Richey Police Chief Kim Bogart.

What may have seemed like an innocent comment landed that teen with 2nd degree felony charges. It highlights the seriousness with which law enforcement is taking these kinds of school threats.

”We take it seriously because there have been a number of incidents across the country,” said the chief.

In fact, the laws in Florida have even been toughened up. On October 1, a new state law classified school shooting threats as a felony. At the time, Pasco County Superintendent said this.

”Sadly the timing is appropriate when someone makes what they think is a joke to shoot up a school people panic,” said Kurt Browning.

In fact, the threats at Gulf High on Wednesday were enough to keep some kids home. As for the new law, we checked with the Pasco Sheriff's Office, since October 1, there have been six threats made and seven kids arrested.

The sheriff's office points out only three of those cases specifically apply to the new law. Nevertheless, officials want to drive home the point that “words matter.”