Mental health professionals are encouraging parents to talk to their kids after multiple middle school students in Pembroke Pines were arrested for allegedly making threats against Silver Trail Middle School on Snapchat.
“It’s very important as adults, we take the time to explain to our children the possible consequences,” said Alfredo Hernandez, psychotherapist and clinical director at ImprovingLivesNow.com.
The threats came with serious consequences for the students. They’re facing second-degree felony charges and have been held at a detention center and suspended from school.
A public defender spoke on one of the student’s behalf in court, telling the judge that this student held good grades and had no prior disciplinary issues.
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Hernandez says now is the time to speak with your children about these serious situations as their brains are still developing.
“They’re learning how to express their emotions, their anger, their aggravation,” said Hernandez. “As parents, we want to teach them about empathy and feeling towards other individuals as it is in society how important to relate to others.”
Though police determined the messages not to be a credible threat, once it’s posted online, the damage is done. That’s why professionals are reminding parents once again to be mindful of their kid’s social media activity.
“There’s a huge pressure of social media and peers. You need to know what they’re talking about, you need to know what the private messages are,” said Hernandez.
The 12-year-old female student did have to undergo a psychiatric evaluation before the judge could decide if she could go home and be monitored there. But she won’t be able to return to any school in Broward County until the investigation is complete.