• Extra security at Atlantic Coast High School after rumors of a school shooting

    By: Deanna Bettineschi , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    Extra security brought into Atlantic Coast High School Friday after word spread about the threat of a possible shooting.

    One parent said she heard it first, from her child, not the school.

    “When I have to hear about it from the news and from my child in the school system and not from the school itself, I have a problem with that,” said one mother named Denise.

    The mother said she did get an email from the school at 9:35 a.m., but said her daughter had already been in school for two hours.

    “They’re not proactive in communication, they’re very reactionary,” she said.


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    We reached out to Duval County Public Schools for some answers and they say there was extra security at the school today, and the threat was not credible. DCPS released the following statement:

    "Our first and highest priority is to ensure the safety of students in our care, and investigate and neutralize any threat to that safety. We also make every reasonable effort to communicate with parents in a timely manner and provide updates with accurate information. Any false threat that disrupts the environment is not tolerated and will be addressed by the Code of Conduct and law enforcement. We remain committed to partnering with our parents in maintaining a safe and positive learning environment and encourage anyone with concerns to contact the school and district directly. We are all on the same team and must work collectively to communicate with each other."

    This is the script of the principal's call to parents:

    Good morning Parents and Guardians of Atlantic Coast High School. This is Principal Spaulding calling to inform you of an issue we had at the school. Last night, we received a false tip about a threat against the school. In this case, the student texted the information to another student, rather than sharing the information with an adult, creating concern among students and parents. We identified and interviewed the student who originated the text, and the student admitted that the threat was false. All students and staff are safe, and we will conduct a normal education day, but we are asking for your help. 

    Students tend to have an impulsive approach to social media, and may not understand that texts, posts or images shared create a permanent, and sometimes negative, digital footprint. Texts such as these are obviously highly disruptive to our education community. That said, if a student really does hear or see a threat, we implore them to share that information with a trusted adult immediately. 

    I am encouraging you to discuss how to use social media responsibly with your child, and to monitor their social media activity daily. In addition, please remind them of the roles they share in contributing to the safety of our campus, and how sharing false threats against our school community will result in serious consequences. We thank you for your help with this matter. If you have questions or concerns, please call me at 904-538-5120. Let’s continue to work together to create a safe and productive school community.

    The increased security comes just a few days after Action News Jax showed you other posts that surfaced on social media.

    Those posts included a student using racial slurs and bad language, and another asking students to wear gear with the Confederate flag.

    Those posts and the responses that followed made students feel uncomfortable.

    Mother Norma Martinez said she never got a letter from the principal that was sent home to parents after those social media posts.

    “If the parent is not aware or involved there’s no where you can detect the problems,” Martinez said.

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