After Lee County student brings gun to school, no safety answer from officials

Reporter: Dannielle Garcia Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Harns Marsh Middle School in Lehigh Acres. Credit: WINK News.

We reported School District of Lee County confirmed an internal investigation was launched after a student threatened his peers with a weapon at school. We have asked officials about new measures to keep students safe but have not received a response. However, one school board member gave us her time to talk about a push for safety.

Parents want to know what’s being done to keep kids safe after a 12-year-old was arrested with a loaded gun at Harns Marsh Middle School in Buckingham last December.

The District says parents were notified exactly 22 minutes after they learned the student had a gun on campus at Harns Marsh.

The District, again, refused to make anyone available to answer questions about the investigation into what happened at Harns Marsh at the end of last year.

“My husband is the one that heard the news,” parent Maria Deluna said. “He’s the one who heard the news, and I kept on checking to see if they sent out any messages, but they never did.”

Deluna told us she thinks the District should have.

Initially, Lee County Sheriff’s Office reported students told teachers a 6th-grader had a gun, and deputies moved in and made the arrest.

But, now, the District confirms new information has sparked an internal investigation centering the actions of at least one employee. That’s because the sheriff’s office now says the 12-year-old suspect flashed the gun at fellow students and threatened them at least three different times.

“They say they want parent involvement, yet they keep us at arms distance in a lot of different ways,” parent Anna Marie Trotta said.

We spoke to the attorney representing the student accused of bringing the gun to school, and he said he doesn’t understand why his client was re-arrested and is now in custody.

We spoke to board member Melissa Giovanelli with School Board of Lee County, who admitted she’s in the dark as well. She agreed the board and school parents should know more about the incident; however, she said that’s easier said than done during an investigation.

“When there’s an ongoing investigation, we’re limited to that information,” Giovanelli said.

Giovanelli told us she will renew her call for increased security.

“Since February of 2017, I’ve asked — and you can quote me on this — I’ve asked for metal detectors in schools to have school safety,” Giovanelli said. “And they’re saying we can’t afford that, yet we have a tax that was passed that is for safety.”

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