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Anxious Morning of Gun Threats in Palm Coast Affecting 3 Schools, and a Demonstration by 200 Students at FPC

| February 21, 2018

An anxious few hours at the FPC campus today. (© FlaglerLive)

An anxious few hours at the FPC campus today. (© FlaglerLive)

A rumored gun threat at Flagler Palm Coast High School’s i3 Academy that led to a Code Yellow this morning, a walkout at FPC at noon drew 200 students, a lock-down at Buddy Taylor Middle School and a man with a gun in Palm Coast’s P Section caused a brief street shut-down, a Code Red issued to residents to stay indoors, and a 20-minute lock-down at Wadsworth Elementary and Buddy Taylor Middle School: it’s been an anxious few hours in Palm Coast today, the bottom line being that none of the incidents have led to more serious issues, and all appear resolved.

The morning began with a 15-minute Code Yellow at FPC’s i3, Code Yellow being one level from the all-clear, Code Green. The concern this morning stemmed from an anonymous phone call to school authorities that a student had come to school armed.

Within moments, according to Jason Wheeler, the district’s chief spokesman, a school resource deputy was at the academy, the student was searched, no weapon was found, but for precautionary reasons as the investigation continued, the student was removed from i3.

“There was nothing there, it was unfounded,” Wheeler said.

“It ended up being a misunderstanding,” Brittany Kershaw, the sheriff’s spokesperson, said. “Somebody thought there was a threat but they interviewed the student involved and they decided there was no actual threat, it was a misunderstanding about previous threats that had been going on on social media.”

Numerous such threats have been circulating on social media, including a particularly virulent one originating from a Snapchat account in South Carolina, where a ninth grader allegedly threatened “round 2 of Florida,” in a caption beneath an image showing a man—actually, a boy—holding up what turned out to be an airsoft gun. The ninth grader was arrested. But the image has been recirculating, with people elsewhere changing the caption to apply it to their school or their region.

At noon today, in what was an entirely unrelated development, some 200 students at FPC walked out of their classrooms and staged a 17-minute demonstration, much of it taking place in the 800 gym, where they had the cooperation of the district, administrators and faculty. The demonstration was in solidarity with the 17 students and two adults who were murdered in the latest school massacre, in South Florida, earlier this month.

“We don’t discourage social activism by our students.” Wheeler said. “We are directing them to an area on campus where they can  discuss their concerns and the reason for their walkout. Superintedent [James] Tager said our primary goal is to be respectful of the 17 students lost in South Florida and that that’s why the student protests are taking place across the country.”

FPC faculty provided students counselors and opportunities to contact their representatives, since they are the ones who have final say regarding gun policy.

The demonstration developed rather quickly, faculty and the district finding out about it at mid-morning, with even members of the Student Government Association unaware until then. The district had been preparing for a more elaborate walkout planned for March 14-though on that day students in Flagler would be on Spring Break. In that case, since the district did not want to deny students the opportunity to take part in demonstrations, faculty and administrators were working on other mans of enabling the students to have their voices heard.

Today the students were directed to the gym where a PA system was set up and other means were made available to the students. “It went very well,” Wheler said after noon, and the demonstration disbanded after the symbolic 17 minutes, with students returning to class.

Meanwhile, the P-Section incident that led to the lockdown at Wadsworth and Buddy Taylor developed.

In that case, a man had barricaded himself with guns at 17 Pershing Lane, requiring a quick police response as Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies, including a tactical team, surrounded the house and negotiated with the man to come out. Certain streets in the neighborhoods were closed, a Code Red went out to neighborhood residents asking them to stay indoors, and the schools went on Code Yellow. But by 12:30, the man had been secured. There is little additional information at the moment as to what led to the incident.

The district, as is usual, will be informing parents through messages this evening about both incidents—at FPC and at the Wadsworth-Buddy Taylor campuses. There were no earlier notices regarding the weapons issue at i3 because all the facts were not yet in. “We’ve got to make sure it’s a valid threat and get the facts first and then let the parents know,” Wheeler said.

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41 Responses for “Anxious Morning of Gun Threats in Palm Coast Affecting 3 Schools, and a Demonstration by 200 Students at FPC”

  1. Chris A Pickett says:

    Metal detectors at the school doors(ALL). They work in cities that use them, Detroit, Chicago, etc……

  2. Just the truth says:

    FCSO your the best, keep up the great work.

  3. YankeeExPat says:

    Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

  4. Jon Hardison says:

    “But the image has been recirculating, with people elsewhere changing the caption to apply it to their school or their region.”

    What the hell is wrong with people? How is it that anyone, let along kids, finds this funny?

  5. Kris(Sophomore at FPC) says:

    Today was one of my best days at FPC. The faculty and staff were very diligent in letting us carry through with this walkout. It has come to my concern that even if guns are outlawed there will still be a way to get them. The problem isn’t the guns its the people who have the guns.In the school shooting case he may have had mental issues, but he wouldnt has killed as many people with a knife. Background checks should be made for all weapons and the age restriction should be changed. You can buy an assault rifle at 18 but you cant buy a pistol til 21. This age restriction makes no sense. My heart goes out to the children and families of this shooting.

  6. Jenn says:

    What is this world coming to? People are going to stop sending their kids to school and homeschooling them and I am one of them I’m not going to have my kid killed over some a******

  7. Dave says:

    **ATTENTION FLORIDA STUDENTS!!!! No attending School till they change the rule!! No students are to attend school until there is a full BAN OF AR15 WEAPONS , together we can make a change!!

  8. Dave says:


  9. Brian Smith says:

    These children are frightened, the news media and gun opponents have no business using kids as pawns to push there abolish of the 2nd amendment agenda. We have the right to protect ourselves from the ruthless in society. Any law is worthless, criminals don’t obey them, so all your doing is punishing the law abiding people. You can have my weapon when you rip it from my dead cold hands.

  10. omg says:

    SUSPEND ALL THOSE WHO WALKED OUT.. That was not in their best interest or safety. It was just an excuse to get out of classes

  11. FPC Parent says:

    The fact that as a parent of a student there and the increase in school shootings, I find it unacceptable. I am not confident that my children are safe in Flagler County Schools, but if we take our kids out with every threat how will our kids learn? I am finding it a hard line and better communication is essential for me to feel safe when my kids are in school. I am so thankful my kids have cell phones so they can call me.

  12. PJ LT says:

    How about teaching those kids, who have been changing the captions to fit their locations, by arresting them then taking them in to explain as to why they should not do such acts and then fine them. If they cannot pay such a fine then have them sent to do community service.

  13. Beaner55 says:

    AR-15’s aren’t the issue! Quit trying to dodge getting out of class and focus on getting an education ! First time something pops off requiring someone to have a firearm , the same people protesting “no guns” will be the same people saying we need weapons! Welcome to America , it’s my God given right to bare arms !

  14. Wendy Martens says:

    Kudos to the students who demonstrated today at FPC!

    Unfortunately, I think due to the strength of the NRA, this is an issue that will not get any government action (witness today’s NJ headline “House says no assault weapon ban”) until people begin to really put up a big, huge stink, and take things to the streets, and papers, and TV. I’d like to see names and amounts published of all politicians who take contributions from the NRA. Military grade weapons have no business being in the hands of the average citizen.

    The problem is getting back the ones already out there.

  15. FPC Student says:

    The walkout was a great event today and allowed us to voice our opinions. We had a moment of silence for the victims, friends, and families of those affected in Parkland. Then, we all decided to come together to stop gun violence and we were informed of warning signs of possible threats and how to act to stop it. The administrators then passed out envelopes to everyone who wanted to write a letter to government officials so we could let our voices be heard.

  16. Layla says:

    I am a little disturbed with the demonstration being allowed in the school. Politicizing this is not helping the situation. What about those students who didn’t want to demonstrate? This was a terrible tragedy, but this needs to be handled by the adults, not the students. Sadly, much of this seems to be contributing to the hysteria rather than solving it.

  17. ProudMom says:

    omg – It’s called the 1st Amendment- freedom of speech and the right to peaceful protest. Nobody’s getting suspended for exercising it! Get a life!

  18. Dave says:

    Brian Smith you are confusing criminals with crazy people, crazy people often buy their guns legally and are not criminals till they commit a crazy act. Criminals are just normal minded people who live outside the law

  19. Wake up says:

    Society is what needs to change. Parents need to start parenting..and holding their children responsible for things. Too many parents sticking iPads in front of their children and not actually taking the time to raise respectful children.. Too many families are broken apart and too many kids bringing anger to school. Displaying what they see at Home onto other children at school.. how did we ever manage to go to school years ago and not have shootings… wake up

  20. Pogo says:

    @Thank you for your service

    There is no need to eliminate the 2nd Amendment.

    Ban civilian possession of assault rifles, ban civilian possession of any detachable magazine of a capacity of greater than 6 rounds. There is absolutely no reason for civilians to possess battlefield rifles. There is no reason for civilian pistol magazines of greater than 6 rounds.

    There is no need to confiscate anything. A thing is either legal to possess or it is not. Deactivation for collectors already exists. Anything that becomes illegal should be eligible for voluntary surrender for recycling. Follow the rule of law. Period.

    Those seeking compensation for their “loss” should receive no less than the sincere thanks of the entire country.

    Thank you for your service.

    Or you can go along with crackpot solutions like I’m listening to now on television from this character – Rep. Jay Fant:

    Jay says he’s got this: Just train teachers and others to be players in a shooting gallery in the event of a school invasion by a shooter who is blasting away at anything in the shooter’s path. Apparently his knowledge of firearms, marksmanship, and normal human reactions to being being shot at is zero. You decide.

    Lies don’t kill people – people that tell and use iies kill people.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Please shut up. Something needs to be done and the voices of the students need to be heard. Students and teachers do NOT feel safe at schools.

  22. RickG says:

    My granddaughter was one of those who walked out in protest over the issue of the lack of gun control. I couldn’t have been prouder of her. The answer is to prevent the sale of semi and automatic weapons. Pure and simple.

  23. Whatever says:

    Remember this old but VERY true statement ….. If guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns ! And to Dave, your idea doesn’t do anyone any good !

  24. PcFC says:

    Out of the schools mentioned the one i saw on social media was Matanza High School. Many people do feel this is a ploy to rid people of their guns and there are about 25 types of guns ranging from pistols to rifles with the same power as the one the kid walked into school shooting 17 . I agree there needs to be metal detectors at all entrances and exits, put God back in the schools, have open pys group counseling not just when a major crisis is going on but life in general has become complicated for kids thry dont need to feel their their the only one going through this, also provide full time private counseling at school. Kids are going through more than just homework assignment ,and hormonal changes these days. Some are dealing with addicted parents, out of work parents, homelessness, sickness within the family. Add that to thr pier pressure, homosexuality, transgender situations and should they keep up with current world events, they don’t know if there is a tomorrow. Give students, parents, schools the support thry need. And by all means figure out a psychological profile people must pass that is put through a computer test generated by forensics psych. Or something durung that 3 day wait period. Selling a gun to someone about to blow makes no sense. Red flags mean caution

  25. woodchuck says:

    Kids that make these threats should be made examples of,no time outs and lunch detention.Lock them up with the big boyz.This is what you get when everybody gets a trophy for just showing up.

  26. LJ says:

    Right on sister.

  27. @omg says:

    students have very few ways of protest, if as you say they just wanted to get out of class, what do you think a suspension will do? SMH let the kids protest, let them voice their concern in what ways they can, a loss of a few hours is nothing compared to the loss of doing nothing to change what is going on.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Why weren’t the parents notified the school calls for stupit shit they can’t call when shit like this happens. Time to invest on metal detectors !!!! Don’t wait for a disaster to happen take action NOW

  29. Wendy M. says:

    Also, I would like to say a very big thank you to FCSO who was in our neighborhood today for the Pershing standoff. I know the gentleman involved, he is an increasingly handicapped (especially neurologically, I think) military vet, normally friendly (but almost impossible to understand), but more reclusive in the last year. Thank goodness no one was hurt. I hope our neighbor can get some professional help.

  30. Sense says:

    How many people have used their AR 15s for self defense????

  31. Deb Reilly says:

    My 9 year old grandson is worried about bullet proof glass at Belle Terre Elementary. He shouldn’t have to worry about safety at school. ENOUGH! 💔

  32. tulip says:

    I praise these students that are taking some action and actually going to Tallahassee and the wonderful job they did on CNN town hall about it last night. These kids are actually getting involved and taking action and making sure that their feelings are being heard.

    I sure don’t see any adults who want to change the gun laws getting out there and doing this. The one thing that is really coming to light now is that it actually shows how many of our leaders only care about money, campaign contributions and getting elected, even if it means that innocent people will die because they don’t change the laws.

    Granted, all those war weapons out there can’t be recalled from the people, but it would seem to me that gun stores and shows could be banned from selling the magazines that go into the gun. The only people that would need that is military and law enforcement.

    I am glad my kids are grown and don’t have to contend with the fact that it’s possible they could go to school alive and come out dead or injured through no fault of their own.

    Again, congratulations to those students from Stoneman Douglas school and to all other students around the state and country that participated in the protest, keep up line of communication.

    Also, shame on chicken face gov scott for not appearing at the debate last night., Even though Rubio showed that he is not for making changes, except for increasing the age limit and that he will continue to accept money from the NRA, he stood face to face with the people and took his lumps. After watching him, I will not vote for him.

  33. mark101 says:

    Well everyone needs to stay home, its dangerous out there, cars on the road, guns, drugs, texting while driving , old people that can’t see driving, (actually I got hit yesterday in Daytona by a 87 year old man that actually told the officer that he didn’t have his glasses and he was sorry ” ),

    Regarding the AR15 , I say ban the assault weapons period. IF you look at the worst mass shootings in the US, we have the movie theater shootings, the concert shooting the club shootings, church shooting and school shootings and a few others all carried out by an AR type rifle or an military weapon.aka Uzi .

    “” The problem is guns, not mental illness”,

  34. GWOT Veteran says:

    I refuse to let kids who are so stupid they need to be told not to eat laundry detergent advise me on what part of the Bill of Rights they believe I should be allowed to have, they exercised their 1st amendment right to skip classes because the media told them to be outraged by this, I will continue to exercise my 2nd amendment right to keep and bear arms no matter what their opinion of it may be. The AR15 is not an assault rifle, there is no such thing as an assault rifle, that’s a name the politicians came up with based on cosmetic features of certain weapons, assault weapons are select fire fully automatic weapons which you can’t just go out and buy. Instead of complaining that the government has given you too many rights and demand that they take some away from you, you might want to take a close look at why this was allowed to happen, this psychopath had been reported to both local law enforcement as well as the fbi, neither of which seemed terrible interested in doing anything about it, each of those could have prevented this from happening had they done their jobs. If you really want to save kids lives these aren’t the guns to look at, you should starting protesting against gun violence in cities like Chicago who already have strict gun control but still top the lists of murders. If you REALLY want to prevent kids from dying, let’s look at banning cell phones, around 11 kids are killed every single day from texting while driving.

  35. Dee says:

    A few parents and I discussed this just this morning. I have called and left a message for the school district but this cannot work without support from the parents and the community. We cannot expect our teachers to be armed, as they have a big enough job to do without that tremendous burden. We cannot expect our law enforcement, school district and government to protect us. They can only do so much. Here’s a suggestion, allow parents that are able, as well as our citizens without kids in school to volunteer to be an UNARMED patrol in the school hallways, access points, etc. in addition to the community officer. Provide a radio for communication. involve the sheriff’s office to provide a class to educate volunteers on suspicious activity and how to respond, as well as intensive background checks. Parents who volunteer at the school (myself included) must go through a background check to get our badges. The community must do more to help protect our children rather than always looking to someone else to do it. These are OUR kids, we MUST get involved to assist and cooperate with our law enforcement and educators in order to see real change. Gun laws alone will not fix this. Political shenanigans get us nowhere. People need to stop howling about how the government, police etc. and instead need to do more. Get involved in making the change happen instead of talking about it. It may not be the best idea, but it would be a start and I will be first volunteer.

  36. All these comments and only a few got it right says:

    Raise your kids better!

  37. Anonymous says:

    Your god gave us “free will”… Lets ban him

  38. Background checks are a joke says:

    I know a guy who is gonna do something bad one day . His own mother had him Baker acted. He flipped a switch and became normal but when he was released he beat his mother…….background check! # arm our teachers now!

  39. Lazaruis says:

    Who is going to pay for all those metal detectors and armed guards at our schools ?.
    And when the time come will they be man enough to shoot the individual ?
    Also parents can go to jail if your child skips school for protesting .
    A gun free zone is a killers dream come true , even if he is a nutball .
    The teachers and administrators should conceal carry if they qualify for a permit .

  40. Dave says:

    Guns dont make heroes, concealed pistol vs an assualt riffle makes no sense, bot even cops get in shhotouts without backup

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