Last Updated: 3:25 p.m.
All Flagler Palm Coast High School students–all 2,600 of them–were diverted to the school’s stadium this morning after a bomb threat was discovered in a school bathroom around 7 a.m. The threat was cleared at 8 a.m.
“School security was doing their walk-through before students arrived, they located some graffiti on a bathroom that mentioned today’s date and that there was a threat to the school,” Brittany Kershaw, the Flagler County Sheriff’s spokesperson, said.
“The administration has not allowed anyone in the building. They are doing a sweep of the school, if they locate anything they’d like the sheriff’s office to respond they’ll ask for our explosive detection K-9 unit.”
For now–as of 7:45 a.m.–the sheriff’s office’s personnel had not been requested. “They haven’t asked the sheriff’s office to do the sweep, school administrators are doing it,” Kershaw said. “It’s really the school’s call so we’re respecting their decision to do the walk-through. Our guys are on standby if they want us in there, but initially the schools are taking care of it themselves.”
There will be an increased sheriff’s presence at the school today.
The threat was found in a single bathroom and has already been cleaned up.
By 8 o’clock, around the time of the first class, students were being directed back into the school.
Jason Wheeler, a spokesperson for the district, said sheriff’s personnel was involved in the sweep alongside school personnel. “They came in and swept the school with our security personnel,” he said. “School was clear, everyone is back in.” (It was later clarified that deputies were not involved beyond the one school resource deputy usually assigned to FPC.)
He said no one was being sent back home, either from school or at the gate, though several parents were claiming that to be the case on social media, and witnesses at the scene were reporting that numerous students were walking back to their cars in Town Center or walking out that way.
Some students and parents were reporting that they were, in fact, explicitly turned away at the gate, contrary to the district’s official claims. “A couple of my friends were told that too,” one student who drove in and was told to turn away at the gate told FlaglerLive, describing teachers “running up to cars” and directing them out.
“If parents call the school, students can leave,” one parent told FlaglerLive. That’s routinely the case: the school will not keep parents from pulling their children out of school if they so wish, though it appeared many students were making the decision themselves, and attendance was likely not going to be that of a normal Friday.
The school day is being adjusted: classes will begin at 8:30 instead of 8, giving students time to get breakfast if they wish. Meanwhile officials are to examine school security video. “We’re examining everything,” Wheeler said. He could only say that the graffiti wasn’t sprayed this morning.
School Superintendent Jim Tager went to the school soon after the threat was reported. “I’m on campus, came here as soon as I heard, everything is going very well right now,” Tager said at 8:20 as he stood outside the school with sheriff’s deputies, soon after the issue was resolved. “Kids are having breakfast, everything is business as usual.” He credited security and sheriff’s personnel for handling the situation swiftly. “They did a great job. We haven’t had one of these, hopefully they’re going to find the person that initiated it by writing on a bathroom stall.”
In the overwhelming majority of cases, if not in their totality–there has not been an actual bomb explosion in an American school in recent memory, the last one in a public school dating back to 1959 in Texas–bomb threats in schools, while not infrequent, are hoaxes.
“Since Parkland I’ve lost my sense of humor and anything along these line is arrestable, and Sheriff Staly feels the same way,” Tager said.
But there were two distinctly different accounts of the security sweep. Wheeler said deputies were involved. Kershaw said they were not.
“I was there and I saw them walking the hallways as part of the security sweep,” Wheeler said at 9 a.m., referring to one section of the campus, though he did not know to what extent the deputies were involved beyond that, or whether there had been a request by the administration to let the administration handle it.
“We were on campus, they had deputies out in the stadium while the kids were out there just for security,” Kershaw said at 9 a.m., “but the sweep of the school I just confirmed with Commander Reynolds was completed by school administrators.” Soon afterward she clarified the confusion: “We had one of the SRD’s at the high school accompany the security team during the sweep of the school. Our SRD, Jason Williams, who is one of the SRDs for the school,” Kershaw said, referring to the school resource deputy assigned to FPC. He he was with the security team during the search. “Still no K-9 or anything like that,” she said–and she confirmed that the administration requested that deputies not get involved beyond that, unless something suspicious was discovered.
Wheeler confirmed, saying additional sheriff’s personnel worked “the perimeter of campus since all our faculty security were working inside.”
The district posted the following message on its Facebook page around 8 a.m., and disseminated it through a robocall to FPC’s community:
As school personnel was preparing to open Flagler Palm Coast High School this morning, they discovered graffiti making a threat against the school. Since students were not yet in the school, it was decided to keep everyone out of the buildings until school security crews and the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office could conduct a sweep of the campus. The stadium was searched first, so that there was a place for arriving students to be held while the rest of the campus was searched. Nothing was found during that sweep.
Just before 8:00 the school was cleared and students were allowed back into the building. The schedule has been delayed by 1/2 hour to give students the opportunity to eat a quick breakfast in the cafeteria. The first period will be adjusted.
School security personnel are reviewing all video to try to identify the person who wrote the threat. We will also have increased security on campus as a precaution. As always, if anyone has any information about this threat, they are asked to report it immediately, either by contacting a teacher or administrator or through the “See Something, Say Something” section on the Flagler Schools website. Additionally, a report can be made through the FortifyFL app.
John Dewitt says
WTF? Why did they let anyone on campus. Should have sent them all home. And why not have FCSO sweep the building? Why direct everyone to the gym? What if there was a bomb and it was in the gym?
Shaunte White says
Come on bruh like do I really need to be homeschooled just to be safe
FPC Student says
Way to go for not telling a single person what was going on. Leaving your student body in a state of confusion isn’t the best way to keep us safe.
A previous post suggest they should be home schooled. Well I think the result of that is more shooting, robberies. car jacking etc. etc.
WTF My child leaves for the BUS at 7:12. You think maybe They would NOT have bused kids in KNOWING THIS. What did y’all have for breakfast, Instant Dumbass? What if the threat was to get a bunch of people in one place, LIKE THE STADIUM, DO You see this is the problem here? They could Ban all guns, and it would do absolutely ZERO as When there is something going on, we have a “Wait” attitude. Pull your heads out of your 4th point of contact. Telling everyone afterwards is so helpful……….
Are you kidding me …… a bomb threat and the school administrators are doing the sweep …….. did they sweep the stadium before sending 2600 students to go sit there ……… no K 9 Or Sheriffs what the hell …… all those students should have been sent home .
Another FPC Student says
Students with their own cars were being told to leave anyways. Literally why would anyone want to stay at school after this whole mess. I saw several of my teachers and faculty look worried and some of them didn’t even show up. They didn’t inform us of what was happening at all although I do commend our school resource officers and security personnel for dealing with the threat. No one should have to worry about dying at school EVER. What is wrong with people, don’t joke about anything regarding school safety, HAS NO ONE LEARNED ANYTHING. My friend got searched for literally no reason at all! I don’t care if the threat is cleared, this feels way more serious because we were told to go somewhere else. This better be an excused absence I stg.
FPC student says
the whole time i was confused and worried, i didnt know what was happening all i knew is that we got off the buss and i was rushed to the stadiums. i didnt find out about the threat until later on. but honestly the swiftness of the security team was smart but why not keep the students on the bus and send the car riders home until it was over
I did not get a call from Flagler County Education Foundation until 8:30 am after the school was cleared. Same thing happened earlier this month with the video SnapChat threat, they knew there was a problem the night before No phone call until after the fact. FPC/Flagler County Board needs to do a better job of informing parents before they put there kids on the bus or drop off. Both instances students could have been diverted from going on campus.
An FPC Student says
I am so tired of this. I’m so done with this school, no one feels safe anymore, no one wants to be at that school anymore. We are all supposed to feel safe going to our school and as soon as you get there they don’t tell you anything, they leave you clueless. FPC get it together, when you find a threat sent a message out to all your students and the parents, don’t let them walk into a dangerous place with no knowledge of whats going on.
FPC Student says
I love how we were all just like sitting ducks. Really good job at protecting your students FPC. And I really love how no parents were informed until AFTER the incident. Really feel like going to a different school after this year.
FPC Judgement says
FPC is an astounding learning facility. My prefrontal cortex is divided. This was anything but an ordeal to our educational superiors. This serendipitous blissful ignorance really makes my intestines do the loopty loop and pull. The juxtapositioning of delinquents and prodigies. The painful execution of maintaining safeguard of our students. In conclusion, we have been failed.
@ John Dewitt – Where does it say direct everyone to the gym? And, class was only delayed 1/2 hour.
What it does say – Students–all 2,600 of them–were diverted to the school’s stadium. Since students were not yet in the school, it was decided to keep everyone out of the buildings until school security crews and the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office could conduct a sweep of the campus.
By 8 o’clock, around the time of the first class, students were being directed back into the school. The schedule has been delayed by 1/2 hour to give students the opportunity to eat a quick breakfast in the cafeteria.
You should read the article before commenting!
@ FPC Student – It says “The district posted a message on its Facebook page around 8 a.m., and disseminated it through a robocall to FPC’s community” So, you didn’t get the message or robocall?
FPC Dad says
“Business as usual” Ofcourse it is. Because if it isn’t your kid their then it doesn’t matter. FCSO is a joke and should have kept the parents and kids informed. It’s a shame I’m scared to even let my son go to school.
Connor Morgan says
Great job FPC, having everyone in one area after a bomb threat. The fact that I showed up to school to have teachers yelling at me while I have no idea what is going on. Why are you not informing your students of what is going on? You’re letting people have panic attacks leaving MORE people scared to death.
Fpc student 2 says
Yall need to not let administrators do anything cause they dont kow what there looking for let Faso do the work and all of us student should have been taken off the school campus not In to one big open area where anyone could have ideas and thanks for not telling a single parent and not letting. Student know the situation your putting us in more harm than in a safe area
Old Guy says
Why all the back and forth from FCS and FCSO spokespersons over the number of sheriffs deputies who were or were not working with school security personnel? Who Cares! A coordinated and thorough search by competent personnel is what matters. Great job by all the searchers to secure the school and return the students safely to their classes.
These kids think it’s funny and need some serious consequences. This is happening too often. At lest the call to parents came early this time.
FPC Student says
The fact that no officer even let the school staff know the situation is redundant. My first period teacher filled me in on how none of the staff or teachers had a clue of why we were at the football stadium. What are we all supposed to do, just to conclusions? We all sat there in confusion and worry. Calling our parents to tell that that we have NO idea what’s going on and WHY were in code red. Us students and staff deserve to be filled in on a serious situation. I had no clue why it was code red until I read this article. Communication needs to be better in this school.
FPC Student says
It was more of an anxiety attack to not know what was going on. It sucks how many threats have been made on the school and how students don’t feel safe even during a drill anymore.
@John Dewitt – I’m pretty sure the article, and the pictures’ caption, says “stadium” and not “gym”.
No where does it say students were directed to the gym, students were sent to the stadium. As for the sweep I 100% agree you get a bomb threat and dont have the sherriff office sweep? You got to be kidding….
I believe the article and picture show the students in the stadium, not the gym. They had already swept the stadium so they knew they were safe there. Have a little faith…
brruuuhhhhh frfr like how can they not tell us anythinggggggggg, like im ready to sue bc they shouldn’t of let us in the school
Use to be FPC student says
It’s kinda sad that I was woken up by a call from MY BROTHER (who goes to FPC) and NOT the school about this I had to call my mom who was fucking scared ASF…. So if I were y’all I would start calling the parents BEFORE their kids get on the bus because I sure ethe hell wouldn’t have wanted to go to school (one of the many reasons I don’t think my siblings should be going to school)
Vincent Tyminski says
I understand your number one priority in a crisis is to make sure all students and faculty are safe during a potential threat but it could have been handled more efficiently. Today when I got to school I went about my normal routine but that was disrupted when a teacher rushed by telling everyone to “Evacuate the building and head to the football stadium.” I was instantly aware of all the commotion around me as everyone in the school all filled into the bleachers. The way I saw it was a very hazardous way of ensuring safety. I understand there was a very short amount of time to react seeing as how the message was read early that morning and students were already on their way to school. Though you should have contacted the buses and told them to either reroute to a safer location or bring the students back to their section. As I have said I was already in school at the time and was one of the many people sitting in the bleachers waiting to be told what was going on. I sat there vigilant of my surroundings looking for anyone that seemed suspicious. You have to keep in mind that if there was someone planning on “bombing the school” that any one of those kids could have had it on them in their book bag. Thankfully this wasn’t the case. Another problem I noted was that we were all easy targets sitting outside in the open area. The bomb threat could have been a ploy to get us outside and all bunched up together. Once again I am thankful this wasn’t the case. All I am trying to say is that there should have been a safer approach to a threat like this. What I would have done is sweep the auditorium or gym for any potential bombs and if it was safe allow students to file in there but also at the same time being checked by law enforcement of any potential weapons. Also, I would have had officers patrolling outside until the whole school was checked. In all today could have just been a normal Friday or a horrible day to remember for the students of FPC. This is just my opinion on the topic of what happened today and in no way, am I trying to say we have bad staff members or law enforcement. Thank you for what you guys do but try to think of every possibility.
@gmath55 – actually the Facebook posting was not made until almost 9 am, and robocall was received at 8:25 am, so both after the fact NO warning that our kids might be in danger
fpc student says
I hate when these threats are made.
worried grandma says
Welcome to the real world kids…a little inconvenienced because some other student did something stupid? Not funny, not a joke. I’m sure not only were you worried but a lot of other people too. A lot of kids are on the bus by 6:30 or earlier, those can’t be pre-warned. I’m sure the school officials did what they thought was the right thing. I do think the K-9’s should have been brought in. Lesson learned…see something, say something…know something, say something…otherwise, you will be sitting out there again.
FPC Student says
I don’t feel safe anymore… I feel like schools should be a place where kids go to not only learn but to feel safe. For some kids if home life isn’t that great then usually they come to school hoping things will be better there. This morning was a traumatizing experience, I feel like the situation could have and should have been handled differently. I had been sitting in the cafeteria that morning, listening to my music, when a couple of staff members came into the building yelling “We need everyone to evacuate! This is not a drill! This is not a drill” upon hearing this I immediately grabbed my bag and started walking towards the stadium with the group of admin and a few other students who had arrived early. While walking towards the stadium I couldn’t help but think “Oh my god! What is going to happen to me? What about my friends?” Then I start to realize that this could be a school shooting. I pull my phone out of my pocket as my eyes cloud up with tears barely allowing me to see. I call my mom shaking so bad that I can barely press her contact. I recall almost passing out. I stand in a field with a couple of students I kind of know, waiting for someone to let me know what is going on as I am still on a call with my mother who is on her way back to the school to pick me up with my two little brothers in the car hearing every word shared between me and my mother. When at the stadium I was standing around a whole bunch of other students who were fearing for their lives and thinking that someone had come into the school with a gun, all because nobody was informed of what was happening. I think the reason that students were fearing that someone entered the school with a gun was that anyone in the stadium could have pulled out a gun at any moment and start shooting. I watched as students left campus fearing what might happen to them. When my mom had gotten to the school there had still been no information on what was happening, although I found out from my mom, who’s friend’s husband works at the school. My mom told me that I needed to figure out how to get to her from the stadium so that I could leave campus, so I went down to the nearest teacher I could find and asked “My mom just got here and is demanding that I find out how to get to her.” The teacher had turned to a staff administrator who was standing nearby asking if they knew what to do. Then the staff administrator said she didn’t know, which kind of shocked me because, teachers are permitted to go to meetings for these kinds of situations. I went back to my seat and sat down still on the call with my mother. The kids who were standing in the stadium looking for friends and making sure that their friends had gotten out of the building safely were told by administration to sit down. Finally we figured out how I would be able to get to my mother. I remember looking back at the stadium as I left the school and seeing kids being guided back into the school after a bomb threat was made, this made no sense to me. Not only that, but about an hour and a half after the bomb threat was found did we get a call from the school letting parents of students know that there had been a bomb threat. If this was real and there had actually been a bomb, parents wouldn’t have known about the threat unless their child had tried to contact them. I have to admit I am still shaken up about this experience. Everytime I think of what could have happened if there had been a bomb my eyes well up in tears. Most of my friends stayed at school while I left campus. Once back home I called and texted all of my friends asking if they were okay. I recall that while, me and a group of kids who had arrived early were being led out of the building that the lunch ladies who were just getting ready to serve breakfast had no clue that there had been a threat. If the students could not be informed of the situation then I at least expect our own staff to be informed of the situation at hand. Sitting there watching as students filed into the stadium, I see friends, ex best friends, associates, they were all either confused or in panic mode. I start to not only fear for my life but the lives of students around me. I decided to look at Flagler live and Palm coast observer to see if anything had been posted, to find that Palm coast observer only had a small amount of information about the situation. After reading on FlaglerLive about the situation, I scrolled down to the comments where students were angrily commenting on the article. I must say that I have to agree with the comments in all due respect.
They’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t. These are all new situations we face daily and even with the best training and preparation, systems will still fail us. Let’s be thankful that nothing happened and pray that they get better at protecting our teachers, students and entire staff. It’s so easy to hide behind a phone or computer and point fingers and spew trash aka concerns, opinions. Etc. As for me, I’m grateful to God that everything is fine now.
Concerned Citizen says
To All Highschool Students,
Making threats of any sort to fellow students or a facility is not a joke. There is nothing humerous about it. it’s immature and dangerous. You’re commiting a criminal offense and should be held accuntable for your actions. Time to grow up and act like the young adults your becoming.
@ Superintendent Tager
Your comment in regards to a sense of humor involving school safety was in poor taste.
Regardless of whether there has been a mass casualty incident at another school safety should be your top priority at all times. You already have a poor track record when it comes to school safety in this county. Instead of making flippant remarks you should watch what you say and work to correct your issues.
METAL DETECTORS, SINGLE POINT ENTRY, NO UNAUTHORIZED PEOPLE on Campus, and I MEAN NONE. Problem would be pretty much solved. The very last step would be to start EXPELLING and prosecuting PROBLEM students, let their Parents, who will undoubtedly claim their child is an “angel” bother with them. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. The few should NOT dictate the Lives of the MANY.
Can no one else see our public schools are under attack?! They are taking our funds, and terrorizing the schools with psychological warfare creating a feeling of an unsafe environment pushing parents to put their children in for profit private schools. Save our Students #SOS Threw social media our students are being manipulated to do the bidding of the powers that be.
FPC alum 10+ years says
Interestingly, this happened like clock work every year around this time back when i was there. Always a threat in 200 building bathroom. They never did antthing about it tho never even told us. We just would find out through the grapevine…
Mary H. says
Too many conflicting stories. When I picked my son up who had not even went to class, there were 25 other parents and more coming in. Student parking was empty and kids were walking out. They were walking out the back gate of the stadium and were told they could go by a coach and an officer. And I call bull that they allowed parents to call in and check their students out because I stood there with my child while my friend was on the cell with her student and was told they csbt speak to parents over the phone and she could not leave work. I was not leaving them there knowing the administration and one resource officer cleared it. So from 7 to 8 you checked ever locker, every room, bathroom, hallway FPC??? Not good enough for this parent. Sorry! So since they weren’t technically there because they didn’t even go to school, They went home with me. Come on! But yet you have to email them when your kids out sick and you verify a parent is doing that how??? But yet a patent on the phone and another parent with an ID and my address can’t take a student during a bomb threat. Make a big deal about that! I will have channel 2 news there with me when I have to speak to the Dean, that I am still waiting to call me back since October over a teacher issue. It’s no wonder these kids don’t want to go to school! Home school folks, home school!
Navan Weinstein says
In Israel all the schools have military present with dogs. Maybe the time has come for America to do the same.
This is sheriff is way to busy having shooting competitions, traveling to forgein counties, and planning his own tajma Hall to be smart. Now any low life knows that if they make a bomb threat all the students will be placed in one spot in the open. Worst plan in history and goes against all emergency training I’ve ever had.
So my daughter has a dash cam in her car and when she got to the school the resource officer stopped her and said traffic is being redirected turn around and go home so the school can’t say kids weren’t told to go home cause they were. Therefore this had better be an excused abscense or I may just have to upload my video to social media contradicting the school and that’s not gonna look good. Also if the school was cleared that early why did I not get a call till 8:35 am. I get it you get money for certain level of attendance everyday but for Christ sake this is the welfare of our children.
When I was teaching years ago in another state, students would leave bomb threats in bathrooms. Amazingly, they were always on beautiful spring days! In the first instances, students were sent home. Exactly what the students wanted! After a couple of times, the students were taken out of the building to the football field but not permitted to leave. After a couple of times doing this, the bomb threats stopped. The administration called their bluff and the threats stopped.
Judy mazzella says
WHY were we as parents NOT notified until LONG after the incident? This is now th SECOND time we were told AFTER the fact . There were kids at school at 7AM . So the district’s statement of “no classes were in session” WAS BULLSHIT. Dozens of kids were in a class that begins at 7AM. This DELAYED NON communication to parents us UNACCEPTABLE. I was notified of the btms code red drill BEFORE the real bomb threat at FPC.
fpc student says
waiiiiiiit so ur telling me that i was on the bus when they knew about the threat and just released me off the bus anyways…..it’s not adding up
John DeWitt says
I got the notification from my child. She drove to school and arrived at 7:50. So why was she allowed to enter the parking lot and then get directed to the cafeteria, which was also not mentioned in the article, then told to go to the gym, then the stadium? If there is a potential danger at the school, don’t let more people arrive. She arrived 50 minutes after the graffiti was discovered. It was after 8am when I got the automated call from the school. Again, why bus people to a potential threat? Why let them drive into the parking lot? Why let them bunch up in the stadium? What if a potential shooter just learns that a bomb threat will prompt the school to bunch everyone up in the stadium where they then become clustered sitting ducks. All those students going to the stadium yet none were searched. No backpacks checked, nothing. So yes I am pissed. FCSO should not be “standing by” to let untrained school staff play bomb sniffers. What a clustf*ck! I think the governor should look in to this fiasco and let some people have it the way he did Sheriff Israel!
Teachers and staff weren’t told to leave the building until 7:30 am. I called my spouse and said I love you. Everyday I say it before I go to work in case I don’t come home. I would have taken my children home too if I had some at FPC. All backpacks should be clear, and metal detectors should be installed. But the detectors
are too expensive and then it would take too long to get kids inside…..hmmm.
Very simple question, how was a facility the size of the high school “cleared” in such a short period of time. I see car accidents and shop lifting incidents taking hours to clear not minutes like occurred here. Where were the FCSO with their armored vehicles, helicopters, mounted patrol, marine unit, etc. Guess there was no media available for Staley to engage with?
FPC parent says
The school couldn’t tell people what happened immediately, because they had to do a check and there would be an investigation!
The school took immediate measures in response to a message on a bathroom wall. We should be pretty amazed that it was found and that the school took immediate action.
It’s a big school. Incidents are going to happen. Kids are okay. Schools are not under attack. The sky didn’t fall down. Good job Flagler County Schools! Right? Thank you for paying attention and protecting the students.
to fpc says
so for all out there who think dumping kids off a bus into a “hot zone” that is still under security stand down is a good strategy to protect children please wake up. You do not introduce potential targets into an active scene assuming that the threat is not serious. Has anyone thought what a potential attacker learned from the response? it would mean nothing if the school was closed and suspended. the Potential attacker realizes opps not getting a target rich environment from this tactic. But now we see the school well move potential targets of an attack in mass no less to an area with endless opportunities for a would-be attacker. Great work and I can tell you this no way that was a well-planned emergency response plan. Poorly executed decision tree which should surely be scrapped. It does not help that no information was provided to the students who were cattle being lead to a potential threat zone. Good job? Really? It makes one think how far will the school go to ensure state revenue thresholds are met and public scrutiny suppressed. Parents learned of the threat and response from students. Only when it was clear this was going to be a public relations issue did the school hastily prep a call to parents playing down the issues here. Kids come first! Safety comes first! if either of those things is not in the front of any plan of action shame on the school.
It stands to reason the school would love to tamp down all the “events” happening here instead of working on a plan to address the violence, threats of violence and the rampant drug problem on campus. I hope the same folks who planned the response to the potential attack threat this week are not working on the plan to address threats violence and the rampant drug problem on this campus. Sorry for the long response here but there is more than one problem affecting this student body on this particular campus.
Born and Raised Here says
I would have put the kids on the Football Field. More safer.
The school administration was extremely lucky . From what I’ve read not all the decisions were the best. Those 26,000 students are lucky . Anyone with kids in that school should be yelling …..I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any longer !