Child arrested following social media threat made against Varsity Lakes Middle School

Reporter: Andrea Guerrero
Published: Updated:
Varsity Lakes Middle School.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office says it has arrested a child Thursday morning as a suspect connected to a threat made against Varsity Lakes Middle School on social media.

LCSO tells WINK news that its Youth Services CID and School Threat Enforcement arrested a 12-year-old boy after “a thorough investigation” related to a post on Instagram telling students to stay home on Thursday, as someone would be bringing a gun to the school. LCSO says there will be extra patrols in the area of Varsity Lakes Middle throughout the day.

The school sent out the following message

Late last night, we were made aware of a potential threat made to our school through social media. We immediately involved The Lee County sheriff’s Department and they were able to thoroughly investigate and locate the individual responsible. While no students or staff were ever in any danger, this kind of behavior is not tolerated at Varsity Lakes Middle School. The student involved will be disciplined per the Code of Conduct. Teaching and learning will continue as normal today. We want to thank all the parents and students that reached out to us and helped with this situation. Everybody working together made a great difference!!

The child, who WINK News is not naming, remains in juvenile detention.

“It’s crazy,” said Armando Pedraza, whose son attends the school. “I was surprised. I was shocked when you told me. I was like Varsity Lakes, like I was shocked because my son goes there.”

Lathan Gareiss said she doesn’t understand kids today.

“If that was my child and that happened I’d be right there next to them watching them take him away because they need to understand and kids need to understand there are serious consequences to these kinds of actions,” Gareiss said.

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said the agency’s school threat assessment team traced the post to the student, who now faces one charge to conduct a mass shooting.

“If we receive any type of complaints, we’re going to leave no stone unturned and everything is treated real,” Marceno said. “We are going to turn everything over, we’re going to look at everything, we’re going to scroll all social media and when charges are applicable we’re going to charge at the fullest extent of the law.”

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