‘I left work immediately to get my baby’: Parents at Godby High School worried about student safety

Officers on campus were in the double digits on Thursday.
Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 6:11 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Students returned to class under increased security at Godby High School Thursday, one day after the school went into a lockdown.

Officers on campus were in the double digits, and Godby principal Desmond Cole said parents could expect the same on Friday.

The heightened measures come after rampant rumors of a shootout on social media, and several days of fights at the school, including one incident that sent a student to the hospital. Her mother, who did not want to go on camera, said the teen girl was at home recovering Thursday.

Several parents who did not want to be identified so as not to make their child a target, shared they’re fed up with situations like this.

Candace Tibbetts told WCTV she believes more should be done to protect students. She shared the moment she decided to pull her daughter out of school early.

“I got another message from her saying, ‘Mom, I think I’m just going to vibe it out but if I die today just know that I love you,’” Tibbetts said. “And that just broke my heart and I left work immediately to get my baby because my baby’s life is priceless and a grade doesn’t matter to me, her life matters to me.”

Cole said a “good number” of parents signed their kids of out school Thursday out of an abundance of caution. It’s something he said he understands and respects.

As far as the ongoing investigations, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office shared information with media Thursday morning. Lt. Wiley Meggs, an LCSO Youth Services and School Resource Division officer, said that there was a “small-scale fight” on Tuesday followed by a “series of fights” that happened on a larger scale Wednesday. Meggs said that it does not appear that the fights are gang-related.

Deputies were alerted of a circulating social media post claiming there was going to be a shootout at the school. After LCSO made contact with the original poster, they learned that the comments were “third and fourth-hand” and the post was made before credibility could be determined.

“We were unable to find any to substantiate those claims but before we were alerted or the school was alerted the poster went ahead and put it on social media for everyone to see and then notified law enforcement and the schools so it was already out there before we had time to mitigate or determine if there was any credibility to it,” Meggs said.

Cole said they are continuing to investigate and comb through videos of the fights that have broken out and some students will face heavy consequences.

“We cannot stand to have those issues happen at Godby High School or any Leon County Public School or really any school across this country. Safety is our priority and we take that very very seriously,” Cole said.

The sheriff’s office is encouraging anyone who has videos from the fights this week at Godby or any social media videos to share them with the agency.