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4 bomb threats made at Darnell-Cookman this school year

Bomb threat last Tuesday resulted in evacuation, arrest

MetroJacksonville photo
MetroJacksonville photo

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 12-year-old Duval County student is facing a felony charge after school police say he wrote a bomb threat note at his school.

The threat at Darnell-Cookman School of the Medical Arts resulted in the evacuation of the school. It was one of four such threats made at the school this school year. There have been 20 threats made in Duval County schools in that time.

“I think it's gotten a bit ridiculous because they've had so many,” said Aquel Rana, who has a daughter at Darnell-Cookman.

He said bomb threats like the one last week and another on Monday have become more common than he’d like.

“My daughter finds it very frustrating, because they have to go from here, go all the way to the church, and it is hot over there,” Rana said. “Sometimes it's lunch time, and they've got no food, and it really does become a bit ridiculous.”

The boy accused in last week's threat is charged with threatening to place a destructive device, which is a second-degree felony, and disturbing lawful assemblies, which is a misdemeanor.

News4Jax is not releasing the boy's name because of his age. School officials said the student may face expulsion. Based on the student code of conduct for the district, a student faces a minimum of 10 days out-of-school-suspension in such a case.

According to the police report, the student arrested brought a note about a bomb threat to an administrator at the school and said he found it in a bathroom. The school resource officer said that while interviewing the student, he began to suspect the student had written the note himself.

The student apologized to the principal, the arrest report said.

Attorney Rhonda Peoples-Waters, who is not affiliated with the case, explained what might happen to the 12-year-old.

“He could do community service hours,” Peoples-Waters said. “He could understand the effects of his actions -- the fact that his parents will now have to pay restitution. We're having police officers have to come and inspect the school and have the school shutdown, so those are things that the child can be taught.”

Parents said despite the student's age, something has to be done.

“I think a message needs to be sent out to the other children that 'Look, there are some serious repercussions if you do do this,'” Rana said.

Because the evacuation took place close to the normal school dismissal time, students were dismissed from a nearby church at 2:55 p.m. as usual. Normal bus routes were not impacted.

Duval County School Police and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office investigated the threat and gave the all-clear just before 5 p.m.

The arrest of the student was announced Monday as school officials announced the all-clear from another bomb threat on Monday. This threat also resulted in an evacuation. Students were provided lunch during the evacuation and have since returned to their classrooms.

News4Jax does not report bomb threats as they are occurring unless a device is found, there is a major traffic impact or an arrest is made.