11-year-old cited after bomb threat prompts Punta Gorda school evacuation

Writer: Derrick Shaw
Published: Updated:

A bomb threat evacuated a Charlotte County middle school Monday morning and led to an 11-year-old student being cited.

According to Punta Gorda Police, a student at Punta Gorda Middle School told a teacher that they brought a bomb to school. They later said they had only been “joking.”

“However, in an abundance of caution the school has been evacuated and a check of the school is being conducted,” PGPD said in a tweet. “Portions of the roadway around the school have been closed. Students are outside the school and are not in danger. Please avoid the area until the search has been completed.”

Additionally, Charlotte High School and Sallie Jones Elementary were put on a soft lockdown until Punta Gorda Middle School lockdown was cleared. PGPD said, “A soft lockdown means school continues normally, but no one is allowed to enter the campus. This is standard procedure when there is an incident at one of the schools.”

The student was issued a civil citation for disruption of school function and will have to appear in court.

Punta Gorda police say the comment made by the student was a quote from a movie the student had watched with their father on Sunday, and the teacher confirmed that they and the student had a history of talking about movies and quoting movie lines to each other. The teacher also confirmed that the student had made the comment in a playful manner and did not appear to be serious, but that district policy required that he report the incident. The teacher stated that they did not realize that the comment was a movie quote at the time.

Police say it was determined that the student didn’t intend to make a false report of a bomb. However, it was determined that the student’s inappropriate comment had caused a major disruption to the school day, which is why the student was given a citation. The school will handle any disciplinary action.

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