Two schools in Collier County were on alert Wednesday, after a social media post indicated there could be a shooting at Palmetto Ridge and Gulf Coast High Schools. On Thursday, Collier County Public Schools’ Superintendent Kamela Patton held a press conference to address what happened. W
Patton’s opened her press conference by assuring that safety is the Collier County Public Schools’ number one priority.
"Every day, multiple times, I'm in direct contact with our sheriff Kevin Rambosk--throughout the weekends throughout the evenings, following up on any concern that we have or that they've heard,” she said.
Patton said Wednesday’s perceived threat was the result of a rumor. That’s why she said her school district is starting a campaign called Keep Collier Safe, encouraging students to report suspicious social media posts instead of sharing them.
— Collier County Public Schools (@collierschools) February 21, 2018
The superintendent also addressed parents and guardians who felt they were not being given enough updates throughout the day on Wednesday.
“Call all of the front offices, check our website," she said. "Our normal chain of routine is we hit our emergency button-- that means that goes to any and all parent contacts that's their phone numbers, their email addresses so they know when they've seen it and we advertise that right on our Web site. So stay connected.”
But Glenden Guttenfelder, who has four kids in Collier schools, said his daughter is at Palmetto Ridge High and he was worried. It’s one of the schools that was named in the threat and Guttenfelder said he’d have liked more communication.
“So we get about eight messages a day telling us nonsense stuff that we couldn’t care less about --school lunches going up a nickel or something," he said. "But then something like this? Nothing. There’s a Facebook post.”
Superintendent Patton said the district does not want to stoke fears with an unsubstantiated rumor.
"The sheriff's office worked with us to say we don't deem it a credible threat. But if they did, what will we do? We go into lockdown. The parents would know that," she said. "So again I would drive parents to our home page if they have a question.”
Patton said for the students responsible for threats, they could face expulsion from schools and arrest.