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Added Security at FPC as District Contends With Rumors of a Friday Face-Off on Campus

| May 3, 2012

The school district and the Flagler County Sheriff's Office are beefing up security at Flagler Palm Coast High School in response to rumors of a possible confrontation on campus Friday--rumors that have been narrowed down 'to a couple of students,' the superintendent said Thursday. (© FlaglerLive)

Last Updated: 2:17 p.m.

School Superintendent Janet Valentine has ordered the addition of three Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies to the campus of Flagler Palm Coast High School this week, and will have additional administrators on campus Friday, herself among them, in the wake of viral rumors on Facebook and other social media that people involved in the Ralph Carter Park shooting spree Sunday might face off in the school’s courtyard on Friday.

The school intends to conduct “business as usual” on Friday, ending a week heavy with exams for some students.

“We’ve heard some rumors, we’ve shared our concerns with local authorities and it’ll be business as usual,” FPC Principal Jacob Oliva said Wednesday evening. He had circulated an email to school, staff earlier in the day outlining the issue and advising measures. Valentine sent her own email to school board members later that evening.

Thursday morning, Valentine initially said that there would not be a broader effort to disseminate information about the rumors. “We didn’t want to put anything in a mass email or in a phone call because we don’t want to scare people when we don’t have anything specific to talk about,” Valentine said.

But within an hour of that statement, she had made her second trip to FPC, around lunchtime, where she’d been early this morning, and had another conversation with Oliva. The superintendent and the principal then decided to go ahead with an automated phone call to the FPC community, likely by 1 p.m. today.

“We are going to do a call to let folks know because I think it will put people’s minds at ease, that we’ve narrowed it down to a couple of students who started the rumor,” Valentine said. She was concerned that students might opt to stay out of school instead.

The call went out before 2 p.m. “We’re calling to touch base regarding some rumors going around among students at FPCHS and on Facebook in regard to a conflict that occurred in the community this past weekend,” Katrina Townsend, the district’s student services director, says in the call. “We appreciate all the students and parents who contacted us to share information. We’ve investigated, and at this time, we have found no validity to these rumors. We understand the concerns of families, and are working with local authorities to maintain our normal daily routine, and our focus on learning. If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call.”

The rumor began earlier this week in the wake of the shooting at Ralph carter Park, where 18-year-old Johnnie Thomas Jr. is accused of firing a .32-caliber gun six times as a brawl culminated in the shooting. None of the bullets struck anyone, but police said there were about 100 people at the park.

There has already been some spill-over effect from that brawl at the park: on Monday, a fight broke out at FPC between two boys, both of whom were suspended.

“Rumors started flying at FPC that there is going to be a shooting on Friday in the courtyard on campus,” Valentine wrote school board members. “Students reported people were talking about it being posted on face book. This story was not confirmed. However, we are going to take this threat very seriously.”

On Wednesday afternoon at 4:20 p.m., Oliva had sent out a brief email to staff: “We have had several students do the right thing and share with adults on campus the rumors they heard,” he wrote, after summarizing the situation. “We have pursued this thoroughly and have not discovered any confirmation of these rumors. However, safety is our top priority and we are going to ask that everyone make sure that they are on their assigned duties on-time, keep hall passes to a minimum, and maintain a focus on academics like we do every day. We are working with local authorities to maintain our normal operations and will continue to monitor the situation.”

School officials have determined that the brawl at Ralph Carter Park was part of a long-standing rivalry between a small Palm Coast gang called the Grove Street Boys, so called because its half-dozen members or so live in the Pine Grove section of Palm Coast, and a looser, less defined gang of teens from Bunnell. Thomas is part of the Bunnell group, and he started shooting, according to one person closely familiar with the events–and the dynamics at the park–when his group felt out-numbered by the Grove Street Boys.

School staff and cops will be on the look-out for the Grove Street Boys’ trademark colors: camouflage pants, red shirts and black bandannas. But Valentine stressed that there has been no hard evidence of an actual confrontation, only rumors online. Nevertheless, those rumors were spreading fast and broadly enough to warrant action on the school’s and the sheriff’s office’s part.

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43 Responses for “Added Security at FPC as District Contends With Rumors of a Friday Face-Off on Campus”

  1. Liana G says:

    I was there around 9:30 am this morning to pick up my child after receiving a call from a parent who got word of this situation. I saw Officer Grant on my way in and he convinced me that they were on top of things and reassured me that my child was in good hands. I did ask to see her and was allowed to. We spoke and she did say she was somewhat worried but did not want to leave – so I left, comforted by the sight of all the uniform presence on campus. Thank you for taking this seriously, and for taking the necessary precautions.

  2. palmcoaster says:

    No wonder we see more and more home schooled children…

  3. Clint says:

    It about time this city stands ups and “takes” these little PUNKS out of the picture. Arrest any little PUNK who claims to be in a gang and put him or her in a tent setup in the everglades. Surrounded by gators and pythons. Lets see how “badass” these little PUNKS do out in the wilderness….Do you feel lucky PUNK ? Well do you ?

    • gator says:

      were are the parents to these kids, or thay don’t think their kids do this stuff, lock them up to …………….

  4. cutie pie says:

    Thx for the update

  5. Yellowstone says:

    In Florida’s 50s – if a kid did some bad stunt (drink beer, smoke a cigarette, drive recklessly) they’d disappear for awhile. You’d go to school and notice after a week they were missing.

    Teachers seemed to know why – because the student’s parents shared with them the results of bad behavior.

    I went to very small HS in south Florida. I saw friends disaapear monthly – only to be rellocated to Marianna (a reform school). Girls who disappeared usually ended up in south Georgia – usually never to be seen again at that school.

    Today the same behaviors exist and the kids are much bolder (gangs, guns, drugs, suicides, ect). Doing things that were unheard of in those days.

    So, why after all these years are the problems bigger yet go unpunished?

    Why, too, is the school responsible for student’s bad behavior. Schools are like any public place: They have a purpose for being where they are. In this case, to learn.

    Bad behavior is a social crime and absolutely should be handled by the justice system – not the schools where things are very easily swept under the rug.

    Outrageous and bad behavior folks IS A CRIME!

    • Nancy N. says:

      Oh for heaven’s sake people can we stop pretending that the 1950’s were nirvana and that no social ills existed back then? Nostalgia is a wonderful thing…the rosy glow and faded memories make things seem so much better than they really were.

    • Anita says:

      “I went to very small HS in south Florida. I saw friends disaapear monthly – only to be rellocated to Marianna (a reform school). Girls who disappeared usually ended up in south Georgia – usually never to be seen again at that school.”

      Sounds a little ominous, Yellowstone, but I think I know where you’re coming from. There don’t seem to be any consequences for bad behavior from cradle to grave. I’m not going to blame the schools or law enforcement entirely, because if the young hooligan gets that far, it’s probably too late. Instead, I will wonder about the child’s parent(s). For example, I want to know how the parent who laughed as her toddler forced an elderly walker to jump off the walking path by deliberately and suddenly aiming his tricycle directly at her and shouting imperiously, “Get out of my way!” supposes the ‘little criminal’ is going to turn out?

      It begins in the home with “Please” and “Thank You”. Try holding a door open and see how many people even notice, let alone say “thank you.” Since when do kids call their elders by their first names without being invited to do so or prefacing it with the honorific ‘Aunt’ or ‘Uncle’? If a child observes his parents treating others around him with respect, he’ll get the message. Kids are pretty smart that way and most of the time, that youngster will be respected in return. It may not be the whole answer (and yes, there is sometimes a need for tough love) but it is a start.

  6. Mitzi Gee says:

    Ugh. I hate to hear things like this. We have an exchange student from Denmark living with us, and she attends FPC. She is terrified to go to school tomorrow. What a terrible example of the US high school experience this is for her. :(

  7. Ralph Belcher says:

    Yellowstone, that makes me also wonder why commenters (aplenty) place the Police (or Sheriff) responsible for someone doing something unlawful? It comes down to the criminal as the responsible party. Good comment.

  8. ric says:

    The city should not have to baby sit thugs.. Between our worthless school board and the parents of these thugs something should have been done years ago before it came to this.. The school board is only in for the money and could care less about the kids.. They turn their backs and avoid problems and expect the police to take care of it..

  9. says:

    Clint i could not agree with you more. i have no patience with these punks and wanna be’s

  10. ric says:

    Clint. Right on. I love your post.. How about Gitmo??

  11. David says:

    This whole situation with this generation of today’s youth is a mess up way they are being raised by their parents, schools, and teachers according to leading scholars. This generation has always been told they are special, and everything is never their fault . This generation today doesn’t know the different between right and wrong because they were always told everything is right and they are never wrong. This generation never was taught that sometimes you fail, and have to learn to except failure . No my child never fails, my child is special. This generation has not been taught the meaning of responsibility and how to be held accountable for their actions. No not my child, my child is special. I was at a resent little league baseball game, to watch my nephew play,and they didn’t even keep score, and everybody had to play. I thought this was no way to teach a child how to play baseball and the meaning of competition, or that your child may play or your child may sit on the bench. I was also told that this was a non competitive league and everybody will get a participation trophy at the end of the season. Why ? No not my child, my child is a winner.. Schools have had to change their curriculum so that everybody passes. No matter what level your child. is. I read recently that our own military has had to change their BCT ( Boot Camp Training) because today’s youth can not endure the training because the youth of today are to soft. Not my child, my child is special. It’s time parents stop accommodating for their your child, and be the parent you are excepted to be, and raise your child to be become a productive and responsible citizen in this society.

  12. Jennifer says:

    This has been a bad school for a long time. Palm Coast is going down hill. They way they handle things at that school is horrible. They call the police and have you arrested for something simple like cheating on a test. The school deans have no desire to disapline these kids on there own. And use the school officers for everything .Bring back the good ole days were you got punished in the right way. Let me tell you why this happens at school. These teachers dress like teenagers, so the kids have no respect for them. There are several that I have heard about this year alone that are in 30-or 90 day alcohol and drug center. When I went to school the teachers dressed and acted like professionals. And today they don’t even have to have a degree to teach, and if they do its a degree in art and there teaching english class. Boy what happened to the good ole days. When teachers and schools were the professional. What happened to recognizing a kid in trouble or going down the wrong path and doing some mentoring. (Just saying why this has now become a school issue!!) They got this all under control, I bet the school does, …… no the police does and the resource officers have got it under control, cause the school does nothing to bring these kids up. and help them.

    • S says:

      FPC is NOT a bad school. I graduated from there last year and had so much support from the teachers and other staff members. Almost everyone is willing to help you. Teachers do need a degree to teach! You must be getting your information from a very wrong source!

    • FPC Graduate Class of 2010 says:

      You couldn’t be more wrong. FPC is a great school. The teachers and staff are amazing and always try to help. You can not blame the school for this non sense. Maybe parents suck because they never taught their kids discipline and they get involved in things they shouldn’t and carry guns and attempt to shoot people.

    • Not even! says:

      I am EXTREMELY offended by this post Jennifer! You have no idea what you are talking about. I am a teacher in this district and I am very proud to teach here.
      “And today they don’t even have to have a degree to teach, and if they do its a degree in art and there teaching english class.”
      First of all, you are completely incorrect. You HAVE TO HAVE not only a college degree, but you also have to have a teaching certificate. Additionally, you have to be “highly qualified” in the AREA in which you teach. If you do not comply with renewal requirements, fingerprinting, etc…you can not teach. Bringing these children up is not the responsibility of the teachers, yet here we are not only trying to educate them on the subject area content, but we are also having to teach them what is acceptable and unacceptable, teach them values and morals, and try to set a good example. For many, we are the only positive, caring, and/or “parental figure” they have. When my students are hungry (not enough food at home) I feed them, when they are upset I console them, when they need school supplies I give it to them. Since parents aren’t always being the responsible parties for them, we become their “parental figures” so that society doesn’t raise them the wrong way! Don’t you dare say anything about the teachers, administrators, or members of this district unless you’ve walked a mile in our shoes!

  13. Jennifer says:

    Oh and one more comment! I would fire every teacher who called out of school tomorrow, cause there the ones that don’t care about our kids!!!!

    • jane says:

      it’s not the teacher’s responsibility to raise the “poor, helpless children”. By the time they enter school, they should already know how to behave. Put the blame where it belongs – with the parents. It’s their little brats that are causing all the problems. It is their job to raise their own children. Why do they think some gov. entity should do it for them?

    • Not even! says:

      If that were true, I wouldn’t have constant contact with my students through the years! In my ten years teaching, I have been to students’ weddings, their quinceaneras, confirmations, birthday parties etc. I feed my kids, console my kids, go to funerals for their parents who died of drug overdoses, etc. There are SOME teachers whom don’t belong teaching, but 95% of teachers who teach because we care! Not because of the paycheck! I dare you to sign up and get fingerprinted in the district to become a volunteer! In 3 days you would see what it’s like and what we do for our “kids”. Many of my students think of me as their 2nd mother and I plan to stay here and continue to make a difference, despite ignorant people like yourself.

  14. TKW says:

    I pray that tomorrow will be a normal day, and that all of our children are safe. The faculty says they have it handled. Lets hope so. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, however, lets keep things positive, as our kids have access to all this media, etc. Our hearts should remain for our children, and faith in our children to do the right thing. Peace.

  15. DILLIGAF says:

    when one of the thugs get shot we will have a 1000 man march!!!!!! AND THEY WILL SAY WHAT A GOOD KID HE WAS !!!!!

  16. cindy chambers says:

    Hey guess what city officials, sheriffs dept.,citizens of palm coast theres been gangs here for that I know about 15 years now. I ask the sheriffs office 4 years ago if they had a gang unit I was trying to report some activity on my street. they said they didnt have one but that they had a drug task force that doubles as a gang task force. My point is this should have been dealt with severely in its infant stages. I guess they didnt want palm coast to have a bad name. look at us now.

    • Anonymous says:

      And you know none of the parents were notified about this until parents started calling and asking what was going on their kids were calling an telling the parents they were sacred

    • Dontbesoparanoid says:

      I guess you don’t know what the Sheriff’s Office did 4 and 5 years ago. Look in to it.

      [Dontbesoparanoid, please don’t be cryptic: the value of your comments is in their insights, not their riddles.–FL]

  17. resident says:

    The blame is the parents first and foremost for not teaching thier children how to behave and that the choices they make have consequences good or bad. Secondly the schools are part to blame because they do not believe in the days of suspension. Good ole days 10 days out of school you were the parents problem if you cussed you got a day a letter up to 10. Instead now 2 boys can beat up a girl and rip hair out of her hair and get 2 days in school suspension. A boy can push another boy and pull his hair be cause he wants to sit in a chair and the teacher makes the one being beat up move so the other child can sit both these actions happened at BES. Parents need to take responsibility for making sure they raise there children not put it on the school.

  18. PC Dad says:

    I thought Sheriff Andy, uh Fleming said we don’t have a gang problem?

  19. Krystal says:

    Gangs are evident in schools and when uniforms are in force it will still be a factor so take the money they profit off of the sales of uniforms and put it towards…metal detectors in the schools. It is time for cuts in this county on a large scale to put into the school system to improve and stop cutting programs and courses in the school. There is no need in landscape changes in the medians monthly but instead lets put that money into the school system. Lets educate these students about drug, alcohol and sexual education on a larger level so we do not need single parent classes in our schools. Do you know classes are cut once again in this county next year so much so that my daughter who has health issues can not take courses? The list is growing so slim the last courses on the list were parenting classes, I don’t think so. The citizens of this county are blinded and you should check out other county’s schools websites on the courses and the curriculum it offers. It puts a huge perspective on what is really going on in this county.

  20. Betty says:

    I coulnd’t agree more with cindy! It states the SCHOOL OFFICALS knew of the gang activity. Isn’t there something about it in the school handbook. Always wait and brush the crap under the rug. People come here thinking its a good place to live until the find out the hard way and realize its all crap. They spend more money trying to COVER UP the bad, rather than DOING the GOOD!! Lets hide behind the beautiful new bushes and trees on Belle Terre!!

  21. T class 2011 says:

    How can someone say anything that happens inside that school when them themselves havnt been inside the school in years. I was there last year fpc takes violence and bullying very serious and takes direct action. There are consequences for wrong doings. FPCs teachers are infact the best, and prepare you for the really world and get you ready for college the best they can. They are easy to talk to when you need anything and always make themselves available to students who need them. Most of them are teachers for more than one class or coaching a team. Thats their jobs NOT to punish you for wrong doing that is the job of a parent. It is the same thing when another parent gets mad for someone else punishing their child, fpc isnt there for punishing its a place for higher learning and oppurtunity and EVERY teacherand staff member does that. They make us feel wanted among society and a place to go when home is hard! What children do is at fault of their parents who they grew up around and learned behaviors and how to talk to people. Couldnt be prouded to be a bull dog! Two final notes teachers dont make enough money for the enough of crap us kids put them through being a former student i know this for a fact. But they do it because they hope the time thy have with us will help form us. Also I wouldnt blame a teacher for calling out if they have families and kids why arnt they special enough to stay “safe” same way they want to protect te students. They are people too and should be treated like it. Safety has necer been an issue there and i believe theyll be safe!

    • Not even! says:

      Well said T class 2011! Seeing a message like this makes me feel proud of the way we have sent our Bulldogs into the world! Thank you for continuing to be a Bulldog! :)

    • Anonymous says:

      Really??? If they took violence and bullying very serious,Why are the kids not feeling SAFE???

  22. Anonymous says:

    I think there needs to be more discipline at home just my opinion

  23. #floridaboy says:

    grove street is more like 30-40 people. not 6

    • ???? says:

      why do we always have to blame each other for kids not doing the right thing. You cant keep blaming the teachers and students even tho they might have a big part but why stop there why not say music, tv, facebook, texting, peer pressure, ext. everyone has the nerve to blame each other but no one wants to stop it. the only way is if the teachers and the parents get with each other and help all kids good or bad. Im here for every kid because thats how i was raised and God wants. So why do his Job and judge

  24. "My Daily Rant" says:

    First off obama should come down and give one of his speeches to all that could be his sons.
    Second elect a Sheriff that takes officers out of the bushes with their speed traps and put them into these neighborhoods.
    Third when you catch these violent losers in school breaking rules EXPELL them, or put them into a special school run by Liberals who think they can actually learn something.

    • Anonymous says:

      The bunnell gang is called the black flag hybrid gang and most of its members ar not n school.dont come to bunnell wit dat bullshit.

  25. PC Boy says:

    What kind of “gang” think of names and place to rob instead of paying attention to public funded education? These “real G” are nothing but lazy kids whose parents don’t even discipline them, nevertheless even care about their life. Contraception can eliminate this “gene pool” of stupidity, and carelessness.

  26. palmcoaster says:

    Y/Daily Rant. Why do you have to blame Obama and liberals for the existance of those gangs? Nonsense. Actually the special schools “charters” are just conservative brain storm, not liberals ideas.
    I only agree with you about electing the right Sheriff.

  27. wondering says:

    @ Anonymous: I’ve heard of the black flag hybrids. w/e happened to the pony’s or whatever that other b-town gang was called? You got about 30 or so black flags?

  28. Anonymous says:

    I think everyone is blowing this out of proportion. In big cities things there doing are an every day accurence and last I heard it was a kid who just wanted a day otu of school. It was a rumor. Yes, there is gang activity around Flagler County. But seriously, these gangs arent going to do much. These gangs have fear. They aren’t in a gang for a “replaced family” or for financial troubles like most join gangs for. They have joined these gangs out of boredom! And this is nothing new, years ago there was pretty much a fake bloods and crips, they didnt do anything too bad. Want to know the real problem? The police that potrole the beaches yelling at kids for sitting on the PICNIC TABLES! the police that go to walmart and shew the kids out when usually they are trying to buy something they need, the police that go hide so they don’t need to do their job. I all honesty this has come down to the law not enforcing rules and finding ways to make their job easy. Seriously, next time you see a teen why don’tyou ask how their day is like you do to other adults? Not all teens are in gangs.

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