More law enforcement at Collier County schools Friday during online threat investigation

Students at three Collier County schools were too scared to go to school after threats were made on social media.

One student said she heard about the threat made against Lely High School and said why take the chance? So she skipped school. And she was not the only one.

Senior student Aniya Jefferson said one of her friends told her over the phone about a possible shooting.

“We were deciding, in that moment, are we going to stay home, are we going to go to school,” Jefferson said.

Collier County schools saw an enhanced law enforcement presence Friday while the Collier County Sheriff’s Office investigated the threats made on social media. In addition, to Lely, Immokalee and Palmetto Ridge High Schools were also threatened.

“While this is still under investigation, the threat appears to have been originated from Savannah, Georgia, and mentioned a school not in our area,” CCSO said in a Facebook post. “The post appears to have been altered to include high schools here and then circulated here, with the school name changing several times.”

CCSO said its investigators “worked through the night to get emergency subpoenas for social media companies” after the initial social media post, and will still keep up its increased presence on school campuses as a precaution.

The sheriff’s office declined to comment about the school threats to WINK News. The chairman of the Collier County School Board said the district takes every threat seriously.

“It’s scary to send my son to school this morning,” said Albert H., a Collier County parent. “It’s not worth death or injury, you know. Missing a day of school won’t affect his education. If you love your kids, you do what’s right for them. If something happens to him, it’ll be on my conscience for the rest of my life.”

Uriah, a freshman at Lely High School, said there were a few students in each of his classes.

“I would say in a classroom of 40 people there were only like 5 kids,” Uriah said.

WINK News Safety and Security Specialist Rich Kolko said young kids are very adept at manipulating social media.

“The possibility of a threat originating in Savannah, Georgia, directly affecting the Collier County School District is pretty slim,” Kolko said. “We’ve seen law enforcement throughout Southwest Florida arrest some very young kids for doing this.”

Reporter:Annette Montgomery
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