Teachers and students at Astronaut High School in Titusville, Florida, are probably alive today because Sheriff Scott Israel and his intrepid men aren’t in charge of ensuring their safety. An art teacher at the school perceived a threat from one of her students and reported him to the school’s administrators. After further investigation, the student was found to be a credible threat and a likely possible attack on the school was averted. Astronaut High administrators let parents know about the near miss last week…one year after the threat was discovered.

Why did administrators wait so long to let parents know of the threat they’d discovered?

School leaders said they put off telling parents about the incident because “we were asked by law enforcement not to publicly disclose anything during their open investigation.”

Parents might think that the only reason they’re hearing about the incident even now is because of the Parkland shooting and subsequent revelations of the utter sh!tshow that was the school’s and law enforcement’s handling of the shooter, both before and during the attack, but we couldn’t possibly comment.

We know. You’re thinking, Thank goodness the school took the teacher’s concerns seriously, though, and got law enforcement involved!

Hold on there.

District spokesman Matt Reed said an initial internal investigation by the school, consisting of a few hours of questioning by the Astronaut guidance counselor and vice principal, cleared the student of any suspicions. …

The guidance counselor at Astronaut, Monique Muldowney, told the art teacher via email that, after talking to the student, she did not believe the boy was threat. Vice Principal Jamie Russell told investigators “he was typical goofy kid who wants attention and he did not believe the threats were that serious.”

School officials did not tell district staff or its assigned security resource officer about the incident, and did not search the student’s locker or backpack. The student did not have a history of disciplinary problems, according to the school district.

Fortunately, though, the art teacher did mention the situation to her husband.

By chance, Reed said, a few days later, the teacher who reported the incident mentioned it to her husband who worked at Parrish Medical Center, where a shooting had unfolded the year before, and he contacted the Titusville Police Department with the alleged threat.

“He felt the school had downplayed the potential seriousness of what took place,” detective Sara Macskassy wrote in her report.

Upon further investigation of the art student and a friend, the Titusville PD found more than reasonable suspicion.

Police found that the two 17-year-old male students — whom FLORIDA TODAY is not naming because they are minors — had the “clear ability” to carry out an attack on the school with an arsenal that one of them had hidden in his bedroom. According to police records obtained by FLORIDA TODAY, the stockpile included .22-caliber rifles, a .380 pistol, loaded magazines, homemade axes, knives and machetes as well as improvised gas masks and bulletproof vests.

A police search of the boys’ cellphones also found messages, laced with racial slurs and misogynistic comments, about school shootings and pictures from the Columbine High School massacre.

Both students have since been expelled. The art student is on probation and his friend is performing community service. They’ve been threatened with arrest if they set foot on school property again. And Brevard schools are now handling reports of threats differently.

School leaders said the incident at Astronaut High School served as a catalyst to beef up security measures and procedures at all Brevard schools over the last year. If a threat is reported, schools are now required to immediately contact the police and district security.

All of which only serves to demonstrate that teachers and students can’t rely on school administrators or police to guarantee their safety. If one of these two decides to go Nikolas Cruz and attack, the threat of arrest for trespassing likely won’t provide much of a deterrent. And even if the school’s resource officer mounts a non-Broward-like response, he can’t be everywhere. A lot of people can be killed or wounded depending on where in the school the incident happens.

Under the state’s new gun control law, teachers will now have the option of arming themselves to protect themselves and their students. If, that is, they’re willing to undergo the 132 hours of training the state mandates in order to keep and bear arms on campus.

We’re all our own first responders. The sooner we realize that, the fewer casualties we’ll endure in designated gun-free zones.

 

 

20 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t know who’s lazier — the average cop, the average school administrator or the average guidance counselor.

    • Cop loses. Cop is going to get chewed out, quite possibly by co-workers, if he’s caught being lazy: Union will only go so far to protect him (even the Union is objecting to Isreal’s keeping the cops outside). Teachers unions applaud laziness and incompetence and don’t give a damn what parents think.

    • The only new law we need is one that requires all active shooters to place a dozen donuts on their rifle barrels before entering a school.

  2. “He felt the school had downplayed the potential seriousness of what took place,” detective Sara Macskassy wrote in her report.
    So this is more of the Promise Program?
    See something, say nothing.

  3. So what exactly was done to stop the attack. Confiscating .22s and a .380? “If one of these two decides to go Nikolas Cruz and attack, the threat of arrest for trespassing likely won’t provide much of a deterrent.” Well at least TAG nailed that.

  4. Ask anyone who gets to the scene of a crime first?
    A. Police
    B. Ambulance
    C. Victim
    D. Perpetrator
    E. C&D
    I guarantee most will get it wrong but pose it to the average POTG and we’ll get it right.
    Answer is E in case you didn’t know and one could argue that since the perp chooses the place and the victim is on defense that the answer should be D. Personally though since the crime doesn’t occur until the victim is trespassed against I say E. Right up until the perp says gimme yo wallet there’s been no crime. Once past that point it’s either a mugging or a DGU.

  5. “They’ve been threatened with arrest if they set foot on school property again.” An effective deterrent to be sure…not. If any of these little s#itheads threaten violence they should be locked up for life or worse. Ever since Parkland there has been at least one threat of violence against a school per day in my state and they are arresting these idiots and throwing them in jail. One jackass bonded out and made the same threat again the next day.

    • I bet that trespassing arrest would really scare the hell out of a person willing to do mass murder.! What a deterrent . My thinking is if you show up in school grounds you will be presumed to be there to commit murder and so you will be shot dead. Of course they could just pick another soft target. No guns ? Beer bottles, gasoline, rags, matches. No restriction, no age limit, no waiting period. Bad people do bad things. What happened to ” Thou shalt not kill “.

  6. If I’m attacked by an active shooter, I hope it is with a .22 LR. At lease some furniture will be useful for cover.

    Classrooms/schools could be hardened with ballistic board inside of the drywall partitions and doors. Level 8 ballistic board at 1-7/16 in. thick is equivalent to Level III body armor. If they are serious about hardening schools, the classroom walls and doors should be lined with double layers.

    • Max, if you’re attacked by an active shooter and you’re only trying to seek cover, you’ve already lost (don’t forget to whimper a lot and beg for your life). Classrooms are full of all kinds of defensive weapons. Steal the shooters initiative and Fu(k him up…a lot.

    • Needs 99,856 out of 100,000 signatures by April 7, 2018, to get a response from the White House. A lot of talk, not much action.

  7. “Both students have since been expelled. The art student is on probation and his friend is performing community service. They’ve been threatened with arrest if they set foot on school property again.”

    What in the actual fuq? So after all that, THEY ARE STILL FREE? With what amounts to a stern warning and no prosecution?

    So the dog looks like it has rabies, acts like it has rabies, but we’re just gonna let it run around and see what happens. But we told the dog to behave? Da fuq?

    • It’s worse than that. The identities of the expelled students is being withheld from the public. I’m sure some of their classmates have figured out that these two were expelled, but do they know why? Does every person on campus know that these two are not allowed on campus for any reason and why?!?!?

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