Coral Springs police arrested an 18-year-old high school student on Friday for threatening to shoot up a school and sharing the message on social media, which caused panic in several counties across the state.
Catrina Petit, a student at J.P. Taravella High School, was arrested and charged with “multiple felonies,” according to a Facebook post from the Coral Springs Police Department.
Police said that she used another student’s name and computer to send the threat.
Broward County Public Schools wrote on its Facebook page that the student admitted making the threat and said she did it “as a joke.”
Parents and children from most of the state were scared by the hoax on Friday, and many police agencies and schools posted messages saying that the online threats that were going around were not real.
“It’s a hoax,” the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office wrote Friday morning on its Facebook page. “But please know that deputies, police, and school guardians are taking every possible threat seriously, and extra patrols of our school campuses will continue until the end of the school year.”
People had a lot to say about the advice on the Facebook pages of law enforcement, and some people said they were keeping their kids home.
Someone wrote on the page of the Daytona Beach Police Department, “I kept both of my grandsons home from school today because it’s better to be safe than sorry. Stay safe, everyone!”
As the danger spread through South Florida and Seminole County, where Lake Mary High School was threatened, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office also looked into it. At one point, the post made it all the way to a school district in Minnesota.
Volusia County Schools knew about the threat as well.
“The threat is being looked into by law enforcement, and it has been ruled ‘not credible,'” the district said in a statement on Friday morning. “We are working with the police to find out where it came from. Today, there will be more security on campus because we want to be extra careful. We will keep an eye out all day to make sure everyone is safe.”
Mainland High Was in Danger
The threat was also made to Mainland High School, according to Daytona Beach Police. Officers were actively looking into the case.
The department said Friday morning, “We have extra officers patrolling the school and campus, and we are doing everything we can to keep the students and staff safe.”
The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office said that there was no specific threat against any Flagler school and that patrols were stepped up in the whole district.
Coral Springs didn’t say what the student was charged with, but sending a threat through social media like text message or e-mail is a crime that can get you up to five years in federal jail.
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