Florida AG Wants a Threat-Reporting App for Students

Attorney General Pamela Bondi told President Trump that her office is working with a group of students to create a Snapchat-like mobile app for instantly reporting threats to law enforcement.

by Franco Ordonez, McClatchy Washington Bureau / February 23, 2018
A crowd calls for changes to gun laws in Tallahassee, Fla., following a deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

(TNS) — WASHINGTON — Florida officials are teaming up with student software developers to create a new social media application aimed at thwarting the next Parkland-like shooting.

Florida Attorney General Pamela Bondi told President Donald Trump Thursday that she is working with a group of Florida students on an app making it easy for kids on social media platforms like Snapchat to instantly report threats from dangerous classmates and others directly to the appropriate Florida law enforcement agency.

“Kids now are on social media,” Bondi said. “There were so many warning signs on Snapchat, on Twitter, on Instagram. They were sending them to all different sources.”

It’s one of several initiatives Bondi said Florida lawmakers are working on to protect students and citizens in the wake of last week’s high school shooting that killed 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. They also include passing “red flag laws” that allow the seizure of guns before people can commit acts of violence.

Bondi shared the proposals during a meeting with Trump and other state and local officials who were at the White House discussing school safety and gun reform.

Bondi said the app would cost $100,000 to develop a half a million a year to maintain, all of which is already written into the state’s House and Senate budget. As Bondi spoke, Trump repeated “good” several times, adding that more attention had to be paid to what young people are consuming online.

“We have to look at the internet because a lot of bad things are happening to young kids and young minds and their minds are being formed, and we have to do something about maybe what they’re seeing and how they’re seeing it,” Trump said. “And also video games. I’m hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people’s thoughts. And you go one further step and that’s the movies … maybe they have to put a rating system for that.”

Bondi said she is also working to rewrite Florida’s Baker Act, which gives powers to the police to temporarily seize firearms from people with mental illness. She also wants to bring the Gun Violence Restraining Order to Florida. The law, which is in place in California, Washington, Oregon, Indiana and Connecticut, can be used to temporarily take guns away from people a judge deems a threat to themselves or others.

“So this would not have worked the way it’s currently constituted. This would not have worked with Cruz as it’s currently constituted,” Trump said, nodding. “So you’re going to make changes.”

©2018 McClatchy Washington Bureau Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.