THREAT OF SHOOTING BY KEY WEST HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT INVESTIGATED

A disturbing message from school district officials alerted parents on April 22 that a “stay in place” order had been issued to all schools in the Lower Keys while police investigated a report of a “threat possible at school.

The restraining order, which allows the investigation to continue but restricts movement on campus while an investigation takes place, was lifted about two hours later after police determined that there was no danger at the school, district officials said.

Further investigation by the Keys Weekly found the threat was made by one Key West high school student to another.

Several parents of uninvolved KWHS students contacted Keys Weekly over the weekend and on April 25, concerned about the nature of the threat after hearing more specific information from their own children.

“My (child) said ‘tons of students’ were talking about it. Apparently two students had had an argument or altercation, and one texted the other, ‘I’m not fighting; I shoot,” said the parent of a Grade 10 student, who spoke to Keys Weekly on April 25. That parent and others provided their names to Keys Weekly, but asked not to be identified on paper to protect their children from possible reprisals.

After speaking with the parents, the Keys Weekly emailed Superintendent of Schools Theresa Axford, school district spokeswoman Amber Acevedo and Police Chief Sean Brandenburg on April 25. campus every day? Does he have access to firearms? Was there a gun on campus? Have his parents been contacted? Was he punished or arrested?

Axford and Acevedo responded quickly Monday night, saying an update would be sent to parents on April 26, and Key West police provided the newspaper with incident reports early that morning.

The police report says the student who reported the threat identified the suspect by name and told officers that the suspect had “an issue with another student and threatened to grab his gun and shoot him.” student and school.

The alleged student was not on campus on Friday and police came to his Key West home to investigate. “No weapon was found in his home or on his person. … Administration has advised that the suspect will receive an alternative education,” the police report states.

No charges were laid and no arrests were made, the report said.

The school district‘s April 26 update to parents stated, “Key West Police investigated a report Friday of a possible threat to the school and, after interviewing students involved at off-campus locations , determined that there was no threat to the students. The report was texted to the Key West High School Resource Officer at approximately 9:30 a.m. A student at the high school heard what was considered threatening language and texted. The KWPD and the administration responded immediately by standing in place as the investigation unfolded,” the update read.

Alternative Education is provided in a separate classroom from the main campus to students who are not successful in a typical school setting or who have behavioral issues.

“The whole incident was handled with the utmost care and the police were amazing,” Superintendent Axford told Keys Weekly. “We have an exceptional partnership with law enforcement and we work as a team.”

The School Text Tip program was created by Florida Keys resident Shawn Verne and donated to the school district. It provides each school with a designated number to which any student can tip anonymously to school administrators and school resource officers. In the past, guidance has included student concerns about students contemplating suicide, bullying issues, and potential threats of violence or weapons on campus.

Martha K. Merrill