Palatka High students threatened after dressing up as Trump, 'the wall'
Teens receive death threats over their homecoming week costumes
PALATKA, Fla. – Additional officers were called to Palatka High School Tuesday, the day after two teenage girls received death threats online in response to their homecoming week costumes -- one dressed up as Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump and the other as "the wall."
Cassidy Cushman sent News4Jax Monday the same photo that she posted on her Facebook page earlier in the day of her dressed up as "the wall" and her friend Shelby McCellan wearing a Trump costume for the start of homecoming week.
Monday's theme was America.
Cassidy and Shelby were met with threats and taunts online and at school over their costumes. Cassidy told News4Jax that she even had to notify law enforcement officers because of the threats.
The next day, the Putnam County Sheriff's Office arranged for additional officers to be sent to the high school.
"We had additional staff to Palatka High School, which is only staff(ed) with two resource deputies. We added a third resource deputy in that school and we also worked with the Putnam County School District Police Department and provided some additional manpower just to make sure tensions were not going to remain high and there were not going to be any problems," Capt. Joe Wells said Tuesday.
The girls did not wish to be interviewed on-camera. But they did not mean any harm by the costumes.
"There was nothing racist and/or mean about (the) choice of costume. They are just strong in their political beliefs," Shelby's mother said in an email to News4Jax. "Both myself, and the other girl's mother, spoke with the school principal this morning. And he, along with other staff, saw no issue with the costumes the girls had on."
The Facebook post drew comments from teenagers and adults. As of late Tuesday afternoon, Cassidy's Facebook post had nearly 300 comments and over 50 shares.
Some students at the high school said they were offended by the costumes, while other classmates said they stood behind the girls.
"It shouldn't be a problem. Everybody should have their own opinion," one student said after school let out Tuesday.
There were no incidents at the school Tuesday. New4Jax tried to talk with school officials, but was not allowed on campus to request an interview.
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