UDATE: Police departments are pursuing investigations into three threats made against Sarasota county schools. All three threats were made on social media this week. An arrest was made of a man who on Monday posted that there was a bomb at North Port High School.
Separate threats were also made Thursday against Woodland Middle School, in Northport, and Sarasota High School.
The threats against Sarasota High School were posted on facebook, said Gary Leatherman, communications director at Sarasota County Schools.
After a threat was made against Sarasota High School, principal Jeff Hradek sent out a telephone message to parents Thursday night to let them know that a threat had been made.
Hradek “advised parents that the school is safe, that extensive security measures are in place and that the staff is on high alert regarding security,” according to Gary Leatherman, communications director of Sarasota County Schools.
The following was included in the press release sent from Leatherman just after 11 a.m. Friday:
“School was held as usual today. SHS was not in lockdown. Additional police officers have been assigned to monitor activity around the school today.
Mr. Hradek estimated that attendance was about 50 percent today. Since finals ended yesterday and today was a makeup day, attendance was expected to be low in any case.
A threat also was posted last night involving Woodland Middle School. The North Port Police Department assigned additional officers to the school this morning. The school also was placed on a limited lockdown, meaning that instruction continued as usual, but students were kept indoors and served a sack lunch.
The threats made yesterday followed a week of social media activity in which a number of general threats of violence against schools were made. Police investigated a specific bob threat against North Port High School Monday. A search of the campus revealed nothing suspicious.
Although there is no evidence that any of the general or specific threats are credible, school officials are acting out of an abundance of caution to a maintain a high level of visible security. Principals at several schools have sent telephone messages to parents to reassure them that their schools are safe.”
We will update this story as more information comes in.