Fortify Florida app helping crack down on threats of school violence

App allows for anonymous threat reporting

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – In November, a junior at Pine Ridge High School in Volusia County told News 6 that he got results after he received a few threatening text messages from another student.

When he told his mother, she reminded him about an app that was created by the State of Florida that is intended to make it more simple for students and parents to notify law enforcement about threats of violence.

"She said there's this app you can get called Fortify Florida. I downloaded it, I submitted, you know, everything that I could," the student said.

The app is called Fortify Florida. It was named by the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The money to fund the project was approved by the state legislature as part of the school safety act created following the shooting in Parkland. 

Fortify Florida is free to download. It gives users an option to "report a tip" by searching for a specific school and then pressing "submit."

In the case of the Pine Ridge High School suspect, the Volusia County Sheriff's Office said that it was notified right away through the app.

"The kid's initial reaction was to say, 'I'm going to grab my dad's gun and kill three people,'" said Capt. Brian Henderson with the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies with the Volusia County Sheriff's Office said that they went to the student's house and arrested him. 

"There were no firearms in the house, but the threat, you know, that put a lot of people in fear. As a parent, it's unsettling to send your child to school when someone makes a threat like that," Henderson said.

Whether the student would follow through with the threat or not wasn't the point, according to the student who reported the threat. Instead, he told News 6 that even making the comments was enough to warrant taking immediate action.

"There are people who have lost friends, you know, family from school shootings and that's not something you joke about," he said.

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