Social media school shooting threats end in two arrests

By Eric Cravey & Alex Wilson
Posted 2/28/18

OAKLEAF – Two separate threats of school shootings posted on social media last week led Clay County Sheriff’s Office investigators to arrest two teenage girls on felony charges.

Deputies …

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Social media school shooting threats end in two arrests

Posted

OAKLEAF – Two separate threats of school shootings posted on social media last week led Clay County Sheriff’s Office investigators to arrest two teenage girls on felony charges.

Deputies arrested Alexandria Ashanti Summerset, 15, an Oakleaf High 9th grader, on Feb. 23 shortly after midnight. She faces charges of making the false report of the use of firearms in a violent manner, disrupting or interfering with school administration or functions and making written threats to kill or do bodily injury to others.

By that afternoon, officers were led to Oakleaf Junior High student, Rosa Toledo, 13, who was arrested on the exact charges as Summerset. However, Toledo’s threats were made public at 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 23 when officials at the junior high reported receiving the threats via group text messaging.

Officers found evidence that Toldeo posted a message that “isn’t safe you guys going to be the first one dead (laughing emoji),” states the CCSO report.

Clay County officials held two press conferences on Feb. 22 aimed at allaying fears and reinforcing the role that both the Sheriff’s Office and Clay County School District will play each time a threat is received.

The threats began on Feb. 21 with a social media post alleging an imminent attack from a student at the school, one week after 17 people where gunned down at Broward County’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

“My cousin has a bad disorder and he’s planning on shooting Oakleaf High School because he saw the other shootings and plus the students there don’t talk to him,” said one of the posts. “Student and Teachers please Stay home and Stay Safe Thursday February 22 [sic].”

Forty percent of the 2,452 students at Oakleaf High School did not attend school on Feb. 22 and attendance had not returned to normal levels last Friday either. A second post was made the same day, alleging that the same cousin was just “waiting for everyone to be back.” The police report also mentions a text message sent to multiple people on Feb. 22, but the contents of this message were redacted from the Toledo police report.

School Superintendent Addison Davis, flanked by district staff, administrators and law enforcement from Orange Park, Green Cove Springs and the Florida Highway Patrol, reiterated the district’s policy of zero tolerance at a 10-minute press conference outside the high school on Feb. 22. He said every threat will be punished to the extent of the district’s code of conduct.

“As a community member, as an educator, as a parent, no student, no teacher, no staff member should experience this tragic act as it is unacceptable for anyone to penetrate the sanctity of a school,” Davis said. “It is essential that I assure that each school workplace be a respectful and safe work environment for all – all students – where students can learn, where teachers can teach and employees can support the robust learning conditions that lead to our emotional and social growth for all of our students.”

Despite the press conference, the district’s attempt to be proactive in the wake of last Wednesday’s shooting, some parents are not convinced enough has been done.

Beatrice and Jeremiah Bredeson are parents of a ninth-grade son at Oakleaf High who stayed home worried about the shooting threat. However, they came to the press conference to meet Davis and share their concerns.

“At first, we were worried and scared…it could happen anywhere,” Beatrice said.

“What bothers me more than anything is they say that they’re working on actively making the school safer, but that’s such a general response. I can say I added one more police officer and I made it safer. Why don’t you give us some information so we can make an informed decision than us just guessing what you’re doing,” Jeremiah said.

He said he is open to backpack searches or metal detectors as a way to make the school safer. Regardless, he is seeking clear information on what safety measures are put in place.

“A show of force is one of the first things you do – me being in the military. When you do a show of force, you de-escalate the situation and if that doesn’t work, you do other things, but why not inform the parents about what steps you’re taking, then you might have had more people show up for school today,” Jeremiah said.

In his Feb. 22 press conference, Sheriff Darryl Daniels’s rhetoric mirrored the larger narrative about school safety and gun control that is currently moving through the country. While he didn’t clearly state it, Daniels stopped short of endorsing the arming and training of school personnel with firearms.

“I’ll speak on behalf of the Florida Sheriffs Association, which is entertaining the thought of helping to train teachers and administrators on the proper use of deadly force and gun safety,” Daniels said. “There may be a time in the very near future where state funding is made available for us to do that, and teachers and administrators will be carrying guns in schools.”

Daniels said that while cooperation from law enforcement would help initiate this movement, the decision to arm school employees ultimately remains a school board decision. He also said that while there is a dialogue between himself and Superintendent Davis, the subject of arming school personnel has not come up yet.

Daniels went on to emphasize the importance of the parent’s role in this conversation.

“It’s time for parents to be parents. It’s time for parents not to be friends with their children,” said Daniels. “These are real life situations that are going on across the country and in the state of Florida. As parents, we set the parameters about other things, it’s time to set parameters about things like this.”

Meanwhile, Davis said the Broward County shooting has created a heightened sense of awareness about school safety here in Florida and across the country. Like Daniels, Davis said there may be copycat threats of mass shootings within the schools and on social media.

“The community needs to know that Clay County District Schools is prepared and as it may be frustrating, know that we stand ready and that we stand united. We will take every call seriously. We will take every social post seriously in order to problem solve and create the best and the safest environment for our learners and our employees.”

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