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Student note sparks school threat rumors in Palatka

Investigation determines threats not credible, police say

VIDEO: A video shown to Palatka High School students by a teacher featuring bullying and gay topics has been the focal point of local students and parents. There will be a meeting to discuss the matter  tomorrow night at the sixth grade center in Palatka.
VIDEO: A video shown to Palatka High School students by a teacher featuring bullying and gay topics has been the focal point of local students and parents. There will be a meeting to discuss the matter tomorrow night at the sixth grade center in Palatka.

Palatka, Fla. – Threats made against Palatka High School are completely unfounded, according to an investigation conducted Thursday by deputies.

The investigation conducted by the School Resource Unit of the Putnam County Sheriff's Office, determined the school was holding a pep rally for a mentoring program Friday that several students did not want to attend.

Two boys were reportedly discussing not attending the rally when another boy overheard them Thursday. The boy who overheard the discussion then wrote a note to a friend stating, "DON'T COME TO SCHOOL TOMORROW." Somehow that note grew to the allegation there would be a shooting at the school Friday and ended up on Facebook.

VIDEO:  Putnam County Superintendent's video message about threat

Police told News4Jax that the threat was not credible.

A concerned parent called the Channel 4 newsroom Friday morning and said police were at the school and her daughter called to ask that she be picked up because there was a threat to shoot up the school. The mother said other parents were picking up their children as well.

"Irresponsible behavior on the part of a few students, compounded by misinformation spread on social media, led to many PHS students deciding not to attend school today, Friday, November 20, 2015. Additionally, many parents chose not to send their students to school today based on this misinformation," Putnam County Schools Superintendent Phyllis Criswell said in a statement. "Due to the nature of our world today, it is imperative that students at all Putnam County Schools understand that they cannot even joke about making threats against our schools, their fellow students, or anyone else in our community. We take any such threats, idle or not, seriously and we thoroughly investigate them.

"Parents, caregivers, and anyone concerned about a possible threat to any of our schools, students or staff should directly contact a school administrator, a school resource officer, or any of our law enforcement agencies to get accurate, credible information. Misinformation serves no purpose but to create undue panic and unnecessary actions.

"The Putnam County School District will not tolerate disruptions to our schools that threaten our students' safety and interrupt their learning. Students who intentionally create these kinds of disruptions will be expelled."