PONCE DE LEON – An investigation this morning found an alleged threat to Ponce de Leon High School to be non-credible.
The investigation revealed the perceived threat was a result of an offhand comment made about one student by another.
“One student was singled out and labeled by another as ‘looking like someone who would be a school shooter,’” explained Sheriff John Tate. “The comment began to circulate and snowballed until a student reported a possible threat to a school official early this morning.”
Morning school bus routes had already begun when the information came in, with the school district and the Sheriff’s Office working quickly to notify parents. Additional school staff and HCSO deputies were posted on the school campus out of an abundance of caution.
The investigation resulted in the students found to be at the center of the threat’s origin being charged with disruption of school function.
“In this case, there was not an actual danger at the school; however, we always take these reports seriously,” said Sheriff Tate. “I urge parents to speak with their children about making comments about others or joking about things like shootings or bomb threats. These topics are not a joking matter and can actually lead to felony charges.”
“Additionally, more than half the school’s students missed out on vital instructional time as a result of a comment one student likely thought was ‘“just a joke.’”