METAIRIE, La. — Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto made a passionate plea to parents and students Thursday afternoon, calling for students to stop making idle threats about school shootings and asking parents to talk to their kids about the severity of unsubstantiated threats.
Law enforcement agencies nationwide are grappling with a rash of these types of threats following last week’s tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people.
On Thursday (Feb. 22), JPSO responded to four incidents:
- Helen Cox High School in Harvey – On Tuesday, a student here made a gesture as if he had a gun, and then on Wednesday, deputies received a possible threat reported through Crimestoppers. By Thursday, rumors had spread that the school was on lockdown, which was false. Lopinto said there were extra officers at the school, but no credible threats.
- John Martyn Community School in Jefferson – A 16-year-old went up to a bus driver and said when he grows up, he wants to be a school shooter.
- Grace King High School – Two male students shared a photo that showed one of the two students posing in front of a whiteboard with a drawing of the student and the words “future school shooter” above the drawing. Both students were charged with terrorizing.
- JPSO received another threat Thursday afternoon about a school shooting that was reportedly going to happen Friday, but Lopinto said “there’s no credible source” that it will happen.
“It’s sad that those things are even coming out of kids’ mouths,” Lopinto said. “We have detectives running around going to every school for every little incident. We have to take them seriously. We don’t have a choice.”
Watch the full press conference below: