Students searched after threats at Lake Co. school



LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - In the wake of the fatal shooting at Sandy Hooks Elementary School in Connecticut, several Central School District leaders told WFTV they have heightened their security procedures to make sure children were safe at school on Monday.

Leaders in Lake County said they asked the sheriff's office to step in after receiving a potential online threat to Lake Minneola High School.

The alleged threat to shoot up the school this Friday was made before the Connecticut incident happened.

It took students longer to get into the building on Monday as officials stopped every car at the gate and searched bags inside.

"We have only one access point for students to come in this morning and they're being looked at and having their bags searched to make sure no weapons were being brought in to campus," said Chris Patton of Lake County Schools.

Seven deputies patrolled the high school, officials said.

"Security was tightened up. They searched everybody at the beginning and we're not allowed to bring backpacks and stuff for the rest of the week," said student Rushane McKenzie.

Parents received a frightening message from the principal on Sunday, alerting them of the threat of violence on campus.

The message said, "Parents, I'm asking that you speak to your child and encourage them to provide us with any pertinent information that would assist us with the investigation of these rumors."   

Officials told WFTV the rumor started online and a concerned parent let administrators know.

"The one, in particular, came in before the Connecticut thing. This just made it a lot worse for students here at Minneola High," Patton said.

Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties have also heightened their security measures and provided visible law enforcement presence.

"We're going to take it seriously and we're going to take the necessary steps to make sure it doesn't happen at this school," Patton said.

"There's still some ways things could happen. There's a lot of kids and you never know what could happen, but I'm just glad they stepped up and are taking this seriously," said McKenzie

School officials said Minneola is the newest high school in the district and it has the many security cameras in place.

All after school athletics have been canceled because so many people have skipped class, following threats of violence.

Orange County said it has reassigned its truancy officers as school resource officers this week to give more presence.

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