Gilchrist County schools close over copycat shooting threats
In wake of the terrible school shooting in Parkland, many school districts in North-Central Florida have received copycat threats.
Gilchrist county in particular received a direct threat, leading them to cancel classes and all campus activities Friday.
“At approximately 8:30 pm, the Gilchrist County School District received an email of a possible threat to the Gilchrist county school system,” said Bobby Schultz, Gilchrist County Sheriff. “It was a threat of violence that may occur in our district.”
Schultz is not disclosing the threat at this time because detectives are still investigating it with the FBI.
Without time to determine the credibility of the threat, officials had to make a decision fast.
“We had to make a decision on what was best for our kids, bus drivers, teachers, and that was to not have school today,” said Michelle Walker-Crawford, a Gilchrist County School Board member.
The district notified families of the threat around 9:00 pm and canceled all classes and on-campus activities Friday.
“I said, someone sent an email that had a threat in it and immediately my younger son heard and said ‘can I sleep with you tonight?’ And I was so angry because he was so afraid,” said Natasha Allen, a parent of two children who attend Gilchrist county schools. "Praying on the fear of communities is horrible."
“My mama told me this morning there was a threat to our school and I got really scared,” said fifth grader Emmalee Brideson. “I didn’t know what to do.”
Schultz said it was the right decision.
“I agree with the assessment the school district made,” Schultz said. “I support it and we’re going to do what we have to do to protect our children.”
The sheriff’s office says any away Gilchrist county sporting events on Friday will be accompanied by law enforcement.