Shooting threat at Lake Mary High prompts mass student absences

Deputies step up patrols on campus

LAKE MARY, Fla. – The halls at Lake Mary High School were mostly empty Monday, the same day a threat found last week warned of a school shooting.

School officials said they didn't believe the threat was credible, but extra security would be added as a precaution.

According to Seminole County Public Schools, the message was found in a bathroom at the school.

The message said, "Monday, February 13, 2017, bullets (sic) will fly. Don't show up. You have been warned."

At least four marked deputy vehicles were seen patrolling the campus Monday as classes began.

The parking lot, which is normally filled with student vehicles, was about two-thirds empty. Officials said 2,560 of the school's 2,948 students did not attend class on Monday.

After discovering the message last week, Lake Mary High School principal Michael Kotkin sent a message home to parents:

"You may be hearing from your student or via social media about a threat written on a bathroom wall scheduled for Monday, Feb 13.  Please know that we are aware of the situation and law enforcement is investigating fully.  At this point we believe this threat to be non-credible.  However, as always, we are doing our due-diligence to ensure the safety of our students and staff. We treat any and all threats extremely seriously. Preventative measures will be in place along with added security as an extra precaution."

During morning announcements Monday, a school official was heard thanking students and teachers attending class despite the current circumstances.

Seminole County Public Schools said the absences will be excused if the school receives a note from a parent by Thursday.

Later on Monday, Seminole County Public Schools sent out an email to parents encouraging them to talk to their children about the repercussions of making threats.

"Any such pranks or threats directed at our schools or students will be addressed with severe consequences such as criminal charges and/or expulsion," read the statement. "These disruptions will not be tolerated on our campuses."

Officials asked parents to ask their children for their help identifying any people committing the threats.

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