Winter Park High School locked down over Facebook threat

Classroom doors locked; Police investigate claim to 'shoot up' school

By Lisa Bell - Anchor

WINTER PARK, Fla. - Parents rushed to pull their kids out of Winter Park High School on Thursday after a Facebook post threatened to shoot up the school.  It was the second threat to local students made via Facebook in two days.

On Wednesday, four Flagler County schools took precautions after William Hofer, 20, threatened to kill students at Matanzas High School.

Orange County School District officials and Winter Park Police decided to put Winter Park High School on a modified lockdown after someone threatened to open fire at the school.

In all, parents pulled about 300 students out of school on Thursday.

"Very scary, very scary," said Jacqueline Marrero, whose son attends Winter Park High. "I'm not about to lose a son because somebody's making threats."

Marrero was among hundreds of other parents who waited in a line of traffic to show Winter Park police ID and take their kids out of school.

"I'm not going to take chances with my son with all the things that's happened in Colorado and everywhere else. No, I'm going to pick up my son," said Marrero.

Marrero made the decision after receiving a recorded message from Winter Park High Principal Tim Smith Thursday morning.

"Parents, I am calling because an electronic message was reported that threatened student safety on the main campus," said Smith.

Winter Park police say a Facebook message was sent to a Winter Park student Wednesday night and threatened to shoot up the school the next day.

Police have not identified the sender, but believe the person lives out of state.

"We take Facebook threats just as seriously as any other threat," said Orange County Public Schools Spokeswoman, Kathy Marsh.

The school was put on modified lockdown, which means classes go on as normal, but doors are locked and access is limited.

"Well it still makes me nervous because these things do happen," said parent Celeste Billingham, who was taking her children out of school.

Since the threat was made for Thursday, classes are expected to return to normal for Friday. Even so, Billingham may still keep her kids home from school.

"It does make me nervous because of all the issues going on with other schools in other states," said Billingham.

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