Rumors Fly About Threats At First Coast High
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Concerns are growing among parents of First Coast High School amid rumors that someone is planning a shooting on campus. Social media posts indicate there will be a gang-initiation shooting at the school this week.
Last week, Duval County Superintendent Nikolai Vitti sent robo-calls to parents' phones that there would be additional police presence and possible searches and other security measures.
"During the remaining two weeks of school, your child may notice increases in security presence on and near campuses. Additional district personnel and volunteers have been assigned to schools. Backpack restrictions may apply, and an increase of random searches. We ask that you also support these efforts at home by monitoring your child’s friends, social media accounts and behavior." "Please understand that these efforts are not to alarm or inconvenience you, but to minimize any threat or risk of community violence on our campuses. Please know that I consider the safety of our children equivalent to how I would consider it for my own four children, who attend Duval County Public Schools."
From outside First Coast High School, there was no visible indication of increased police presence at First Coast High.
News4Jax spoke on camera with one mother kept her daughter home from First Coast on Monday because of the threats. She said she will allow her daughter to go in and take a test Tuesday, but the mother plans to sit in the classroom during the test, then take her daughter back home.
News4Jax also spoke with two students who say they are aware of the threats, but they are not worried.
School board member Paula Wright, who represents the Northside district that includes First Coast High, said the district always enhances security on the last week of school. She says they are taking them very seriously, but does not believe there is any substance to the threats. She said she can ensure the safety of every single student on campus.
The high school has been on edge over the past several weeks after the shooting deaths of two of its students.
On April 25, someone shot and killed Johnnel Johnson and injured a second person at an after-prom party at a home in Arlington. On May 15, Jacquon Reeves was shot and killed and another teenager was injured at a gathering at Sheffield Park on the Northside. Both were First Coast High School football players and police have not made an arrest or named a suspect in either case.
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CORRECTION: 6/2/2015 7:26 PM Nikolai Vitti's name was misspelled in a previous version of this story.