NORTH PORT (FOX 13) - Two students investigated for threats at a North Port school have not been allowed to return to school Monday officials said.
North Port Police launched an investigation Friday after receiving several calls concerning Imagine School, a charter school located on Sycamore Street near I-75. A principal received information about the threat and contacted authorities. North Port police worked throughout the weekend and identified the students involved. Officers concluded the students "made verbal threats to do harm." Police shared the following message through social media Sunday:
" We have received several calls concerning Imagine School in North Port. This weekend we began investigating potential threats made by two students. The students made verbal threats to do harm. Unfortunately, we deal with this type of situation from time to time but we take all of them very seriously. The students have been identified and the investigation continues. We are confident that there is no threat to students or staff. Please be assured that we will also have an extra presence on campus (both upper and lower) to ease any concerns.
The message followed another sent by a principal Sunday and received by hundreds of parents at Imagine School's Upper campus. The letter distributed by email and text message included the following information:
"After students left for their homes this past Friday afternoon, I was presented with information involving two students that posed a potential safety concern for the Upper Campus. I immediately contacted the North Port Police Department and have since been working closely with them to investigate the matter. These two students have been identified and will not be permitted to return to school tomorrow, as the Police are still continuing their investigation. In addition, I have requested a police presence on Monday to assure our students, families and staff that we are a safe campus.
I thank the North Port Police Department for their diligence in attending to this matter over the weekend with the school and their commitment our school's safety. I also commend the students who made the right decision to find an adult with this information so we could respond quickly to this matter."
Cher Gardner, M.Ed.
Police and school officials have not released any information about the harm students threatened to cause or if the students accused would face any charges. The principal told FOX 13 the students are not allowed on school grounds until the investigation is completed. It is unclear how long the investigation is expected to continue. School officials said parents of the two students involved have been notified and are cooperating with administrators and law enforcement.
In response to a parent concerned about sending their child to school Monday , North Port police shared the following response via social media:
"We have done a full investigation and would never allow children to come into a situation with any concern. If you do still feel concerned please do what you feel is appropriate."
When asked about the nature of Monday's police presence,the principal explained police would increase patrols through the area but would not be present inside the school.
According to school officials, nearly 650 students attend the Imagine School Upper Campus serving students between grades 6 and 12. Approximately 1200 students attend the upper and lower school campuses combined. The lower school campus located at 1000 Innovation Avenue includes students between Pre-K and 5th grade.
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