TAMPA (FOX 13) - A handful of students across Tampa Bay are facing charges for threatening violence against their schools.
The arrests have been made less than a week after 17 were killed in a mass school shooting in South Florida, pushing local law enforcement and school officials to outline a zero-tolerance policy for their own students who make similar threats.
In Pasco County, a student at Pasco High School was arrested Tuesday. In a Facebook post by “Pasco Sheriff School Safety,” officials wrote the student threatened violence against the school, but it didn’t specify what those threats were.
Many schools are investigating similar rumors, and we appreciate the Dade City Police Department’s efforts to resolve this threat. Your student’s safety is our top priority, and we want to assure you that we take every threat seriously. We also have been trained on the district’s active threat plan, and will continue to conduct drills to ensure we are as prepared as possible if the unthinkable were to happen at PHS. Thank you for your support of our efforts to maintain a safe and secure school.
A pep rally was canceled at R.B. Stewart Middle School after students reported rumors of a possible shooting, according to Pasco County officials. Deputies are also investigating a threat scribbled onto a whiteboard at Sand Pine Elementary. School officials say parents were notified at both schools.
In Manatee County, Bradenton Police arrested two more students Wednesday, bringing the county's total arrests for the week to five.
BPD said on Wednesday officers were able to identify and charge a 15-year-old freshman at Manatee High School with a second-degree felony of written threats to kill or do bodily harm.
This arrest stems from the previous day's investigations into two threatening notes found at the school. Bradenton police said the note threatened there would be a shooting on the Manatee High School campus on Wednesday.
BPD said officers also investigated a Snapchat post that was shared with school resource officers at Manatee High School. The post, which was made outside of the campus from a vehicle in the vicinity of the school, was determined to be threatening in nature and authorities decided to place the school on shelter in place status for a time before the normal dismissal time. Officers say there was no danger to the students.
Detectives were working with the State Attorney’s office to determine if any charges will be made
BPD said it will continue to have an increased police presence at Manatee High and all local schools on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Manatee County sheriff's deputies arrested three students Tuesday for social media threats against two schools.
A 14-year-old male student was charged regarding a threat against Braden River Middle School and two 11-year-old females were charged with a threat against Team Success Charter School.
On the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, they shared a video with school resource deputies reminding students that making threats is “no joke.”
One deputy says, “those who do that will face consequences.” The video has been shown in Manatee County classrooms for about a year.
In Tampa, police say they arrested two students Tuesday and another two on Wednesday.
The first, a 16-year-old at Robinson High School, apparently received a bad grade, so he told his teacher that if it wasn’t changed, he would return and shoot up the school Tuesday.
The same day, a 15-year-old at Middleton High School was suspended. That's when he returned to the campus and threatened to come back with a gun.
Tampa police said neither treat was credible, but both teens were charged with second-degree felonies for the threats.
On Wednesday, another two students were arrested for separate incidents of making threats of violence against their schools - Armwood High and Turkey Creek Middle.
Neither was found to be credible, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. The students were arrested and transported to Hillsborough County Juvenile Assessment Center.
One faces they both face a felony charge of making a false report concerning planting a bomb, an explosive, or a weapon of mass destruction, or concerning the use of firearms in a violent manner.