TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Some students in Leon County Schools have expressed concerns about going to class as they learned about the possibility of one of their peers carrying a loaded weapon.
Leon High School principal Michael Bryan sent a listserve email to parents Tuesday morning saying district leaders and the Leon County Sheriff's office are investigating the post as thoroughly as possible. While it's not technically considered a threat at this time, both LCS and LCSO say they're not taking it lightly.
An anonymous Instagram post that read, "I bring a loaded weapon to school every day," is at the root of the concern.
"This is not 30 years ago where people take things lightly, we take everything seriously," said Leon County Sheriff's Office Captain Bobby Green.
But, because it did not specify a target, it is not considered a direct threat.
According to 2021 Florida statutes, it is unlawful for any person to post a writing or other record when the person makes a threat to kill, do bodily harm, conduct a mass shooting, or an act of terrorism.
LCSO added that although the post didn't specify a target if the statement of illegal activity is found to be credible, the student responsible would face a stiff penalty.
"If any student is found in possession with a weapon on any school ground, they will be expelled from school," Green said. "They will no longer be allowed to attend Leon County Schools. Also, they will have a felony on their record for bringing a weapon on school grounds."
To help settle any concerns students may have about their own social media behavior or fears about heading into the classroom Green added, "My message to parents is to talk to your kids."
ABC 27 reached out to mental health expert Drake Gunning to learn how parents should approach the conversation about school safety with their kids. He says it's important for parents to remember "Kids may be acting differently or maybe a little bit more on edge for a reason."
He also encourages parents to acknowledge and validate the kids' feelings.
"And then after that, reassure the children that they're doing what they can do the school administrators are doing what they can do to ensure the kids are safe and have a safe environment," Gunning said.
So far this year, LCSO has removed 15 weapons from eight different Leon County School campuses.
They remind students and parents, if you see something, or if you hear something, say something.