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2 Bolles students expelled, arrested on explosives charge

Students expelled after conversations regarding potential violence, school says

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two Bolles students who were expelled last week were charged Friday after the school said they had a conversation "regarding potential violence on campus." News4Jax has learned at least one of the boys was researching how to make napalm bombs.

Grant Shirley, 17, of Port St. Lucie, and Matthew Guey, 15, of Houston, were boarding students at the school. The pair were first taken to a mental health facility under Florida's Baker Act before being turned over to law enforcement -- where they were arrested and charged with conspiracy to make, possess, place or discharge a destructive device.

In court Monday, prosecutors revealed one of the students was using the dark web to research how to make napalm, a fuel-gel mixture for firebombs that was used extensively during the Vietnam War.

In a letter to parents, Tyler Hodges, president and head of school, wrote that the two boys had made threatening statements at or about the school. Bolles said it called police and had them removed from campus. 

The letter reads in part:

At no time were there weapons of any type on any Bolles campus.

The boys will not be returning to our community.  We are cooperating fully with law enforcement. Our security personnel have been aware and involved from the beginning and will continue to be vigilant on each of our campuses.

Obviously, this news of potential school violence is disconcerting and heartbreaking to all of us. It is unfortunate that we live in a time that these types of incidents have become a reality for schools like ours around the country. But our overriding emotion should be one of gratitude — at no time were any Bolles students, faculty or staff in immediate danger. We have worked diligently over the years to institute policies, security measures and campus resources that continue to safeguard our community.

The safety and security of our community is of utmost importance. We thank our community for being diligent and remind you to talk to your children about reporting to the School's administration any concerning behavior by any person (adult or student) including what they may view as comments made in jest. Any comment, social media posting or text that reflects even a joking threat to or about anyone in our community or the School is inappropriate and will be dealt with swiftly.

While this is a difficult situation, we are thankful Bolles administrators understood the gravity of the situation and responded quickly and appropriately. Protocols were followed without reservation and our community is even more secure because of their actions.

Shirley and Guey are currently charged as juveniles. It will be up to the state attorney to decide whether they should be prosecuted as adults.

A student told News4Jax that the two were friends and spotted together on campus often. They were not on any sports teams but were often seen together in the school weight room.

Students and parents still don't know exactly what the pair were planning to do and said that it's all very unnerving.

About the Author:

Lynnsey Gardner is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning investigative reporter and fill-in anchor for The Local Station.