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Threat of Violence at FPC, Mirroring Pranks Elsewhere, Prompts Heightened Cop Presence

| November 17, 2017

flagler palm coast high school violence threats

Bulldogs don’t like their routines disrupted. (© FlaglerLive)

The Flagler Palm Coast High School campus is on edge, with extra police presence and heightened absenteeism, after the discovery of a vague threat of violence scrawled with a Sharpie-type pen on a boys’ bathroom wall Thursday.

School and sheriff’s authorities are as always taking the threat seriously, but also putting it in the context of a spate of similar threats discovered at schools in the past few days in Orlando, in Palm Bay, in Okeechobee County and in Los Angeles. The Palm Bay threat was made on Snapchat against a middle school there and was found to be not credible. Last week social media postings led to a lockdown at an Orlando high school, and again the threats were found not to be credible. In Los Angeles a high school freshman was arrested Tuesday after allegedly making threats of violence targeting four schools, supposedly today.

The overwhelming majority of the time, threats against schools, like bomb threats everywhere, prove to be unfounded, the work of pranksters taking advantage of the ease of making such threats and seeking to profit from the disproportionate security response, whether through hoped-for school closures or disrupted schedules. Officials find themselves having to balance taking every threat seriously without giving in to the aim of disrupting school for everyone.

Last week Matanzas High School was the site of a false report of a gun on campus made by a student, who was later disciplined and charged with making a false report.

There was clear hesitation among school and sheriff’s officials Thursday over how and to what extent they should inform the community about the threat discovered at Flagler Palm Coast High School. Officials were hoping to have identified the perpetrator before day’s end. That did not happen. In the end, officials decided not to release information except through an automated call by FPC Principal Dusty Sims, which went out only to parents of students at FPC sometime between 7 and 8 p.m. Thursday.

“They called all their parents and informed them that a threat was found on campus and that they were investigating,” a sheriff’s spokesperson said this morning.

Sheriff’s and school officials are continuing to review video security footage, including footage from outside the bathroom where the threat was found. But no student has been apprehended.

“Could they be pranks, absolutely, could they be real, absolutely, we’re still taking it seriously,” the Sheriff’s Office’s  Mark Strobridge said. “It’s probably a prankster trying to get an extra day out of school,” next week being a full week off for Thanksgiving. “All these events take an extraordinary amount of resources because the safety of children is paramount in these situations, there’s only a finite amount of resources, so when you pull resources from one place you take away from the other. It’s just the way it tends to work out.”

An image of the alleged threat was not made available absent the discovery of the person who’d done it. Jason Wheeler, the school, district’s chief spokesman, said this morning that the threat told students not to show up to school today.

“Parents are on edge we understand that, and student safety is our utmost concern,” Wheeler said. “We want to find who did this, they may have thought it was a joke but we’re not laughing.”

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9 Responses for “Threat of Violence at FPC, Mirroring Pranks Elsewhere, Prompts Heightened Cop Presence”

  1. Really says:

    Blame it on Bunnell

  2. George says:

    Custodian of 20 years here, if the authorities were called every time there was an offensive thing written on the bathroom wall there would be an army base on campus. Because there are no cameras in bathrooms it is literally impossible to stop this from happening. Might they be able to catch a person here and there, sure. Are the police going to hire a forensic handwriting examiner to analyse the graffiti? Of course not. There is graffiti in the bathrooms, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. This is nothing new and I highly doubt it’s going to change anytime soon.

  3. another vet says:

    when caught they should be prosecuted not probation, maybe that would help

  4. MannyHM says:

    Being minors, they know they can get away with it. The well behaved minors then are included in the broad brush of accusation. Google – Michael Fey Singapore. He learned good lesson there on how vandalism is seriously addressed and punished. He never repeated it.

  5. Bc. says:

    When they are cought they should get jail time set a example to anyone who might be thinking about doing the same.

  6. JustBNice says:

    Why can’t the district invest in writing a safety grant and get metal detectors once and for all at the two high schools? When there is a threat the entire school population feels helpless and stressed.

  7. Josh says:

    This is why teachers should have the right to carry in schools incase a shooting or threat dose happen we can protect are selves Some teachers carry guns in classrooms And dont even tell people trust me i know these things and theres so many gangs at fpc people dont know about Wait somthing is going to happen sooner or latter And The world is going to be pissed off

  8. Sherry says:

    Annnnnnd so. . . with “teachers” running around a school with guns drawn. . . the cops arrive. Just how in the world are the police to know who is the “bad guy” versus the “good guy”??? Will they all being wearing costumes or signs?

    Lunacy! Sheer Lunacy!

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