Attendance Still Down at Some Leon Co. Schools Following Threats

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By: Erin LIsch
January 25, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Tuesday, extra security was on hand again at a handful of schools in Leon County that had received threats over social media, and attendance was still down for some.

District officials say Lincoln and Rickards were back to normal on Tuesday. Attendance on Monday was at 50 percent at both schools.

But half of the students at Godby were still absent.

Meghan Hayes stayed home from Lincoln on Monday but returned Tuesday. "They were very sketchy, they kept me home and I was very safe there," Hayes said.

Leon County Sheriff Mike Wood says his investigators may use other sources in hopes of tracking down the person behind the threats.

Sheriff Wood said, "We're talking about expanding our investigation and maybe trying to solicit assistance that might come from outside that might have expertise that we don't."

But the Sheriff is not overly optimistic about pinpointing the source.

"We need to understand it didn't necessarily come from Tallahassee. It could have come from anywhere, given the latitude of the internet," said Sheriff Wood.

The district plans to continue to have heightened security at all schools for the rest of the week.

"It's very scary, you wouldn't think of anyone to do that, but I’m so thankful for my school because they protected us completely," said Hayes.

Sheriff Wood says it's hard to find the original source of the threats because of so many people re-posting the information on different social media.

By: Lanetra Bennett
January 24, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Threats to shoot up several schools in Tallahassee circulate on social media. The threat said anyone who came to school today would be in danger.

Leon County Schools Superintendent Jackie Pons says an email went out to all Lincoln High School parents late last night. That's when the first online post surfaced saying there would be a shooting at Lincoln. Once word of the other three school threats came out, the superintendent says all parents in the district were notified.

Angela Benoit picked her niece up early from Lincoln High School Monday because of a threat of a shooting. She said, "You can't pretend like it won't happen. It's a threat that you have to take seriously because you don't want to not take serious the one time that somebody is serious."

Superintendent Pons says the sheriff notified him of the threats late Sunday night. The message was posted on social media saying students would be in danger if they came to school Monday.

Ninth grader, Kamari Morales, says his parents had a lengthy discussion before deciding to send him to school. Kamari said, "It's really scary because you would never think that something like that would happen in Tallahassee. But, crazy things happen everywhere, so you've got to be on high alert."

The message says: "I will be coming to your school with a handgun in my backpack ready to shoot a black person as well as any white people who try and stop me."

Similar posts surfaced on social media for other schools. Those schools are Godby High and Rickards High and Cobb Middle School.

Extra uniformed officers were stationed at all four schools.

"It does make you feel a lot safer." Said, Cameron King, a 9th grade student at Lincoln.

King said he went to school Monday because he didn't want to miss classes. He was appalled by the words in the threat.

King said, "If somebody feels that strongly about something, then they should seek some other things like talking to a guidance counselor rather than make these kinds of threats and cause of this commotion."

The Leon County sheriff says they are working to track down the source of the threats. He says when they find who it is, the person will face criminal charges.

Superintendent Pons say he understands that some parents kept their children home. He says schools will work with parents on absences.

Schools in Gadsden County were also threatened via an online message. Extra security was also provided while school was in session.

By: Natalie Rubino
January 24, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Four Leon County Schools are on heightened alert Monday after several threats surfaced on social media.

Around 9:15 p.m. Sunday a shooting threat was made to Lincoln High School. In the threat, the poster stated that they planned to come to school with a gun in their backpack.

An Instagram user posted a picture with text that read the following:

THIS IS A [sic] ANNOUNCEMENT FOR ALL ( LINCOLN STUDENTS) your [sic] all in danger if you come to school tomorrow I will be coming to your school with a hand gun in my backpack ready to shoot & black person as well as any whites that try & I stop me !! So if you coming to school watch your back cause I have 3 other accomplices with me ! We might start around lunch time or in A.M. [expletive] it

Another shooting threat was reportedly circulating late Sunday night and early Monday morning against Rickards High School.

The text warns students not to go to school tomorrow because of a shooting threat. WCTV was not able to confirm that text with Leon Schools. That threat reads as follows:

Rhs shootout!!!! Don't come to school tomorrow Monday January 25th, 2016!! I am sick of this [expletive] talking and petty nonsense, therefore tomorrow will be our first and final Rhs shootout. To save a life send this message to all your friends. Anyone who walks into the building is a dead man walking. Have a blessed evening because if you have beef its probably going to be your last

Leon County Sheriff's Office Lieutenant Grady Jordan said Monday morning that there were threats to Godby High School as well.

Jordan also told WCTV that LCSO was actively investigating the situation, working with the school board, and had extra security measures in place.

Cobb Middle School was threatened, authorities say.

Leon County Schools says that the schools are open and operating as normal, but under heightened security.

At a press conference Monday morning, Pons said that Leon County Schools was notified by the sheriff's office around 11 p.m. Sunday regarding the threat to Lincoln. Pons said school officials sent out a message to parents at Lincoln to notify them of the threat and the added security.

Officials say the four schools have extra uniformed officers from the Leon County Sheriff's Office and Tallahassee Police Department.

There was no word on how long the extra security would last.

LCSO says investigators are trying to trace to the source of the threats. A criminal investigation is ongoing and anyone caught could face charges.

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