Flagler County school officials and the Sheriff’s Office this morning have been scrambling to dispel false alarms of an impending shooting that started within Indian Trails Middle School and quickly spread among parents on social media. There is a stepped up police presence at Indian Trails resulting from an earlier, settled incident. But there are no security problems.
“Our understanding is that there is a regurgitation of the earlier incident and false information is making its way across social media,” a district spokesman said this morning.
Overnight Monday into Tuesday, deputies arrested an Indian Trails 6th grader who had written SnapChat messages claiming she’d shoot up the school. She did not have any firearms nor did were there any in her household.
Early this morning several parents with children at Indian Trails wrote messages on Facebook about second, third and fourth-hand accounts about the same girl allegedly getting a friend to pull the fire alarm so she can shoot up the school. Parents were calling the school, seeking information or wanting to pick up their children.
Ryan Andrews, the principal, sent out a message by robocall: “Parents, we want to stress to our families that we work closely with our partners at the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office when it comes to the security of our campuses. There are no safety alerts concerning ANY of our campuses. FCSO may have an extra presence on our campuses today, to show their commitment to that school campus safety mission.”
In fact, word of an alarm going off at school circulated just before 7:30 a.m., though it may have been mistaken for a bell sound at the beginning of the school day. But one alarming SnapChat message had already circulated–by a student who was making the claim about the shooting about to take place.
A deputy eventually made contact with the student’s parent, informing him of the false information his child was circulating. The parent said he’d be taking the phone away from the student. But for anxious parents and some anxious students, plus a response by several sheriff’s units, the school day has continued normally.
The child involved in Monday’s incident has not returned to school, and was still, late this week, in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice.