Collier County 5th grader faces charges after threatening kids with knife on school bus

An 11-year-old student at Estates Elementary School in Collier County is facing criminal charges after the student brought a knife on the bus and threatened to harm herself and others on Tuesday.

Deputies say the fifth grader brought a 5.5-inch bladed knife onto the bus and threatened several fellow students before threatening self-harm.

The bus driver reported the incident to the school’s youth relations deputy when they arrived at the school campus at about 8 a.m.

“I guess it’s one of those things that you don’t think about it until it’s that time to,” said parent Samir Sayago.

The student will be placed under provisions of Florida’s Baker Act and will undergo a mental health evaluation. She is being charged with aggravated assault and possessing a weapon on school grounds.

The sheriff’s office arrest report states the girl was seen pulling the knife from her lunchbox before she carelessly twirled it around several times. She pointed the knife at and lunged toward another student who was sitting across from her, causing the student to move back quickly to avoid contact with the knife. The girl was captured on video pointing the knife at
other students while talking and laughing. She was also seen pointing the knife into the seat in front of her before getting up and pointing the knife toward another student’s head. That student crouched down to maintain distance, and as the girl waved the knife, several students changed seats and screamed “she’s a school threat,” which could clearly be heard on the video. The girl was seen holding the knife to her neck and laughing, then pointing the knife at a student’s leg, causing the student to scream and jump out of the way.

“We’re having more and more issues with Baker Acts and more and more issues with kids wanting to commit suicide,” said Bonnie Bee, with youth services organization Mustard See Ranch of Florida.

Bee is a school resource officer with Collier County Public Schools. She recently started the nonprofit Mustard Seed Ranch of Florida to help kids with at-risk behaviors.

“We work with animals. We work with project-based mentoring, just as many positive experiences as possible,” Bee said.

It’s important work as the county’s mental health services struggle to help an influx of kids right now.

“We got to teach children to take advantage of school counselors and take away any stigma that might come from that,” Sayago said.

No students were injured, and deputies believe this is an isolated incident.

“I would tell someone about it, like an adult, because I don’t want anything to happen to anyone,” said Stephan, Sayago’s son.

Below is a copy of the message sent to parents, provided by Collier County Public Schools.

Hello Estates Elementary School Parents:

I want to make you aware of something that happened at our school today. An Estates Elementary student is in custody for bringing a knife to school. Law enforcement was immediately notified, and the situation was resolved quickly and without incident.

Keeping our school safe is our number one priority. This requires all students and parents to stay vigilant and make sure if they see or hear something, they say something. All students should be aware that having weapons on school property, including school buses, is not tolerated and will result in disciplinary action.

Impacted students and families at our school were informed and will be offered support from our mental health team as well as our District Student Support Services as needed.

We appreciate your trust in our school and the dedicated professionals who work alongside the CCPS administrative team as well as the law enforcement professionals. As always, if you have any questions, please give us a call, thank you.

Reporter:Gina Tomlinson
Writer:WINK News
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