Seminole County schools temporarily locked down due to nationwide hoax

Schools placed on cautionary Code Yellow

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Five schools in Seminole County were placed on lockdowns Thursday after a threat was called into a nearby business, Seminole County Public School officials said.

Oviedo High, Lawton Elementary, Seminole County High, Seminole 9th Grade Center and Journeys Academy were placed on a temporary Code Yellow lockdown out of an abundance of caution, school officials said.

"We had five schools initially placed on a Code Yellow out of a precaution until law enforcement worked further information to realize this was a much larger-scale hoax event," Seminole County Public School spokesman Michael Lawrence said. "Thus, we were able to dismiss as normal so, there was no impact to our campuses.  We sent out messaging to our families district-wide to keep them updated.

The schools were able to dismiss as normal after officials determined the threats were linked to threats being emailed into business and government buildings nationwide. The threats do not appear credible at this time, counterterrorism officials said.

Seminole County law enforcement officials said the schools were placed on lock down due to threats made at nearby businesses.

"You never know when these things are going to happen," Lawrence said. "We have to treat it as if it’s real until we know otherwise and we obviously have to be proactive as possible in getting messages out."  

Parent Michelle Ramos applauded the actions and professionalism of school officials.

"I feel confident in the school in keeping them safe, but I think it’s ridiculous people are like that and it has to go to that," she said. "My first priority are my kids."

In Orlando, police said threats were emailed to local businesses, similar to those made across the country on Thursday.

"We are assisting federal law enforcement in its investigation," an Orlando police spokesperson said. "We will update when more information becomes available."

Follow updates on the nationwide threats here.

FBI public affairs Officer Andrea Apea said the bureau is working with law enforcement around the country providing assistance.

"We encourage the public to remain vigilant and to promptly report suspicious activities which could represent a threat to public safety," Apea said.

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