Pinellas schools see a swell of rumored – and unfounded – safety threats

In a 2013 incident, Clearwater Police officers watch the outside of Belleair Elementary School after it was locked down for more than an hour because of a report of shots fired. The Pinellas County school district has seen a rash of rumored safety threats toward schools. They have all been determined to be unfounded. JIM DAMASKE | Times
In a 2013 incident, Clearwater Police officers watch the outside of Belleair Elementary School after it was locked down for more than an hour because of a report of shots fired. The Pinellas County school district has seen a rash of rumored safety threats toward schools. They have all been determined to be unfounded. JIM DAMASKE | Times
Published February 16 2018
Updated February 16 2018

Two days after a former student opened fire, killing 17 and injuring several more at a Florida high school just four hours away, Pinellas County schools are dealing with a rash of rumored safety threats, all of which have determined to be unfounded.

  • Law enforcement conducted a full safety sweep at Lealman Innovation Academy after there was a rumor of a gun on campus. The rumor was unfounded.
  • A social media post about a vague safety threat involving Gibbs and Dixie Hollins high school was investigated by St. Petersburg Police and Pinellas County Schools Police. The threat was not determined to be credible.
  • A student at Countryside High circulated a picture of a bullet shell allegedly found on campus. The photo circulated on social media. Clearwater Police investigated the concern and determined it was unfounded.
  • It was rumored that a former Pinellas Park High student posed with weapons and posted a picture along with a threat involving the high school. Law enforcement could not find the rumored social media post. Officials interviewed the former students and found that the threat was not credible.
  • An Azalea Middle student said they saw a threat about Lakewood High on social media. St. Petersburg Police said the post did not mention Lakewood and the threat was not credible.
  • A rumor circulated around Morgan Fitzgerald Middle about a safety threat on campus. Law enforcement investigated and found no credible threat.
  • Police were active in the neighborhood surrounding Orange Grove Elementary, but the activity was not related to the school.
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