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Local and Statewide Bomb Threats Currently Under Investigation

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On January 10, the Hernando County School District received a troubling message. A mass email was sent to the superintendents of schools across the state of Florida, claiming to have placed bombs within their respective academic institutions. This was detailed in an email from Karen Jordan, the school district’s Director of Communications, on Wednesday. The update included a statement from district superintendent John Stratton that apprised parents and staff of the situation on Wednesday afternoon.

“Earlier today, school superintendents throughout the state received an identical email from the same sender claiming they had placed bombs ‘inside of all the schools from your School District.’” The superintendent added, “Both state and local law enforcement agencies have been made aware and are investigating the source. While this threat is likely a hoax, the school district takes all threats seriously and works with our Safe Schools Office, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, and each school’s safety team to ensure that all security procedures are in place and that all staff are aware of the threat and remain vigilant.”

These incidents are being investigated at the local, state, and federal levels and Stratton and company will provide further updates once the situation has been resolved.

The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO), one of the many agencies that is aware of the situation, is actively working to get to the bottom of these threats. While the claims are extremely serious and are being treated as such, the sheriff’s office believes, much like Stratton, that these threats are not likely to be credible. Why is that?

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Their reasoning: “The emails appear to be related to an ongoing nationwide email campaign threatening various institutions,” a Facebook post by the HCSO stated. “As always, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office stands ready to protect all of our citizens, especially the most vulnerable, our children.”

The Hernando Sun reached out to Denise Moloney, the public information officer currently on call at the sheriff’s office, for further comment on the situation. Understandably, due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, nothing more could be divulged until a later date.

“This is actually an active investigation involving us, several other agencies, and federal authorities; therefore, I’m unable to release any additional information at this time,” Moloney said.

If the local agency receives any other information that is “deemed credible,” they will make those facts available to the public as soon as the sheriff’s office is able. The Sun will also continue to provide updates on this breaking story should any new information come to light. If concerned citizens or parents have additional questions, the school district encourages them to use the “Let’s Talk!” app to reach out to district personnel. The comments are then routed to the proper sources and commenters should receive their responses within two business days. Hopefully, the situation is resolved quickly so students, parents, and teachers can feel a greater sense of security when returning to their schools each day.

Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch is a Graduate with Distinction, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. He's written numerous articles reporting on Florida Gators football, basketball, and soccer teams; the sports of rugby, basketball, professional baseball, hockey, and the NFL Draft. Prior to Hernando Sun he was a contributor to ESPN, Gainesville, FL and Gator Country Multimedia, Inc. in Gainesville, FL, and Stadium Gale.
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