CAPE CORAL, Fla. -- A total of 335 students were absent from Caloosa Middle School, Friday, after the school sent out a message regarding a fake threat against the school the day before.
275 of those absences went unexcused. Thursday, the schools sent this message to parents:
Good evening, this is Principal Ann Cole at Caloosa Middle School.
"In light of recent events and in order to foster open communication, I wanted to make you aware of a non-credible threat made by a student against Caloosa Middle School.When we heard about it we immediately notified our campus resource officer and began our own investigation. While it was quickly determined the threat had no credibility, disciplinary action was taken and the student has been removed from school.
As is the case in situations like this, especially due to the tragedy on the east coast of Florida, the rumors concerning this threat are swirling, but in no way true. We wanted to make you aware of the situation and let you know that it is safe to send your child to school.
As you heard from the Superintendent today, student and staff safety is always a top priority.As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me directly."
As a result, some parents decided not to take any chances. "They didn't elaborate on it. To me, if the student's been removed, what does that mean? Just for the day? Are they suspended? Expelled?" one parent asked.
The Lee County School District said they would not make any exceptions in their attendance policy because of the copy-cat threats following Wednesday's shooting. "This should be an excused absense. I'm a parent worried about safety," she said.
Gulf Middle School in Cape Coral sent parents a similar message, Friday. The school said it was dealt with immediately, and deemed fake. Their message read in part:
"There was no credible threat identified and all students at Gulf Middle School are safe. We appreciate the students and parents that took immediate action to notify the school and to report the incident. Thank you. Again, all students at Gulf Middle School are safe."
Similar threats are happening all over the country. Thursday, a Broward county 6th grader was arrested after writing a note threatening to kill students at her school. A high schooler in South Carolina was also arrested for posting a photo to Snapchat with a gun, that read "Round 2 of Florida tomorrow."
The Cape Coral Police Department released the following statement:
"In the wake of the recent school shooting here in Florida, a number of social media posts have circulated, showing individuals making tasteless remarks that are tantamount to threats. Sadly events like this can bring out the worst in some people. These posts have spread like wildfire across social media, causing fear and concern among parents and students, prompting people to share these social media posts with us. At least one student in South Carolina who posted one such threat online has been arrested.
We take any threats against our citizens seriously. Any information we are provided is being vetted and shared with our law enforcement and educational partners. Our officers are paying extra attention to schools in their daily patrols as well.There have been NO CREDIBLE THREATS against any Cape Coral schools thus far. While we understand that people are on edge, we do not want parents, teachers, students, or school staff worrying unnecessarily.
That said, if you see or hear anything that is concerning, we are encouraging people to contact us. Tips regarding threats or any other crime can be reported here: