Red Flag Policy Possibly Prevented Florida School Shooting
A Red Flag Policy allows school staff to report any suspicious student activity. Once a student is flagged, authorities can search the student for any evidence of a potential shooting.
A public school in Florida faced a shooting threat from a former student. Law enforcement officials in Fort Lauderdale quickly issued a Red Flag which supposedly prevented the shooting. Now, the effectiveness of Red Flag policies has, once again, become a hot topic of debate.
Seagull Alternative High School in Fort Lauderdale provides education to pregnant teens and likely drop-outs. In early October of 2022, a student received an Instagram message from a former 17-year-old student who wrote: “I just might come to yo school and kill everybody” with an attached photograph of a handgun and assault rifle. He particularly singled out the principle and a behavioral specialist at the school.
Immediately, the school reported the threat to Fort Lauderdale authorities, who issued a Red Flag on the student. A Red Flag Policy allows school staff to report any suspicious student activity. Once a student is flagged, authorities can search the student for any evidence of a potential shooting.
The student’s home was searched, but no ammunition was found. Authorities claim that the student must have stored the ammunition elsewhere after sending the IG message. However, to their surprise, they were called back to the boy’s home in November, after he allegedly discharged a firearm multiple times and even striked his sister’s hand.
Advocates of the Red-Flag policies claim Seagull Alternative High School’s case supports their claim that measures can prevent school shootings. Critics argue that issuing a Red Flag violates the due process of law, or the right for the defendant to be heard in court. Further, they claim that Red Flags are ineffective, citing mass shootings in states that adopted Red Flag Policies, such as Colorado and Virginia.