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Charlotte County deputies send letter to parents addressing concerns

Posted at 8:19 PM, Feb 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-21 20:19:29-05

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. — A warning from the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office to parents that their instinct to protect their children may do more harm than good in lockdown situations.

Charlotte County deputies say it's an important lesson they learned from a recent active shooter scare that turned out to be a false alarm.

On January 28, 2020, deputies say they received a call about an armed man near Vineland Elementary and L.A Ainger Middle School in Charlotte County.

Deputies and school staff quickly sprung into action, securing the schools by placing them on lockdown.

Within minutes the armed individual was apprehended, and deputies determined the man did not pose any danger to the students.

Deputies say it was a man hired to hunt iguanas on private property that was near the schools.

While deputies say the incident was handled well by officers, school staff, and students, this week, parents received a letter expressing concerns on the way some parents reacted.

One of those concerns was parents arguing with deputies and school staff, diverting their attention from what they needed to do.

The letter also states that parents were contradicting what school staff and officers had instructed students to do.

Parents calling students during the lockdown was another issue.

Deputies say it's important parents understand students are hiding during these types of lockdowns — calling them could expose them to a potential threat.

In the letter, Sheriff Prummel informed parents that while he won't stop them from going to their child's school, he does ask them to go to designated areas and stay out of the way.

"Although we understand the anxiety and emotions that can come from parents, they need to rely on us to be the safety measures for them, and we are passionate about keeping the children in this county safe," said Thomas Conroy, with the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office.

CCSO says during these situations, deputies cannot give "blow-by-blow" updates; they need to make sure they are providing accurate information.

To view the full letter, click here.