PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Statement from Superintendent Bill Husfelt:
We certainly understand that the two, unrelated, situations that occurred today are scary for parents and students and concerning for our community. We continue to talk to all of our students about the impact of making school threats and we remind them that school threats are not funny and almost always have long-term criminal consequences. We will continue to have zero tolerance for school threats and for any types of weapons on campus.
We do appreciate the swift response of our law enforcement officers when these situations occur and we know that they are as committed to the safety of our students as we are. We also continue to be impressed by the commitment of our students who see something and say something when they hear, or see, something of concern. Bringing information to a trusted adult on campus is the quickest way to get a situation addressed and we appreciate their trust in us.
Parents, please talk to your students, again, about not making school threats. Threats of this nature are not funny and they scare many, many people. Valuable law enforcement resources are spent investigating threats because ALL of them are taken seriously and these threats are taking a toll on our students, our faculty and staff and our community as a whole. We want our schools to be safe places for all of our students where everyone's energy is focused on teaching and learning and making the sorts of memories that we all had the opportunity to experience ... situations like the two which occurred today are NOT what I want students to remember about their school days.
Communities across the country are dealing with this right now, it's not just a Bay County problem, but I truly believe that we can work together to help our children navigate the challenging world in which they live.
UPDATE 09/06/2018 1:50 p.m.:
More details are being released about an arrest in connection with a BB gun found on Bay High School's campus.
Thursday morning the Bay County Sheriff's Office responded to a call about a firearm in a backpack of a student on Bay High's campus.
Deputies say they identified the suspect, but when they tried to make contact with him on campus, he was not there. They say they started searching around the school for the suspect and found him, along with a girl, one block off Harrison Avenue.
Deputies made contact with the two student, who initially denied knowing anything about a gun. Deputies say they spoke with the suspect's sister, who is also a student at Bay High, and found the BB gun in her purse. They say it was a replica of a Beretta 9mm handgun.
Investigators believe the male student did bard a school bus that morning with the BB gun in his backpack. They say it was seen at the bus stop by other students who believed the gun was real and reported it to school administration.
They say when the boy realized he may be in trouble if found with the BB gun, he passed it to his sister to hold in her purse. They say he and a girl fled the campus and went to a near-by restaurant, knowing law enforcement was looking for him.
The boy was arrested and charged with disruption of school function, a misdemeanor. His sister and the other female student face disciplinary action from school administration.
The Bay County Sheriff's Office is investigating after a BB gun was found with a student at Bay High School. The incident prompted the school to go on a soft lockdown Thursday morning. That lockdown has now been lifted.
A post on the Bay District Schools Facebook page praises students and community members for coming forward with information about the BB gun. There have been no reports of injuries.