May 17, 2017
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The Leon County Sheriff's Office and Leon County Schools are investigating after a threat was made on social media to Chiles High School.
Leon County Schools spokesperson Chris Petley tells WCTV, “An unsubstantiated social media threat prompted school administrators to excuse absences for those not wishing to attend school today.”
LCSO says extra patrols are on campus today and investigators are reviewing the social media post to determine its validity.
School officials confirm that the school's seniors have already finished classes and attendance is low. WCTV has learned that several parents have also picked up their kids from school or kept them home due to the threat.
An email about the threat was sent to parents of Chiles High School students on Tuesday at 10:55 p.m.
The email reads:
Dear Parents, Community Members, Faculty Members and Staff,
Please take your time to read the following carefully:
I want to assure all of you that the safety of our students is the most important thing we provide every day. Your children are safe here at Chiles. Earlier this evening, our administration received an anonymous notification of a potential threat to our campus tomorrow. We take all possible threats seriously and have alerted the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and the Superintendent along with the Leon County Schools Safety and Security Office. Both agencies will have staff members here to add additional security to our campus. Classes and activities will take place as normal. Parents, you make the decision for what is best for your child and if you choose to keep your students at home their absences will be excused.
I also want to make you aware of a situation that occurred on campus today. This is the possible source of tensions and raw feelings for our students. In the spring, a handful of Chiles students displayed Confederate flags in the back of their vehicles. Administrators opened a dialogue with the students and informed them of their limited First Amendment rights and historical symbolism associated with the Confederate Flag felt by various groups of students at Chiles High School. Administrators also informed the students of the ramifications if their actions created a disturbance on campus. This morning, after some commotion on campus, the students were asked to remove the flags. As there are only two weeks of school remaining, students have been instructed not to display the flags for the remainder of the year and moving forward.
As a public school, we believe in the freedom of expression by our students. However, if student behavior causes a disruption to the educational environment the student code of conduct establishes an appropriate administrative response.
We appreciate your continued support of our students, faculty, and staff.
Please feel free to contact my administrative staff or me with any further questions or concerns.
Thank you and take care.
Joseph L. Burgess
Chiles High School
We will bring you more information as it becomes available.