Shooting Scare At High School Result Of A ‘Cruel Prank’

Student's capitalized off a previously dismissed threat, crafting a school shooting hoax that sent the Florida high school into lockdown.

By Erika Hanson | Published

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A violent threat that turned out to be a hoax at a Florida high school has had chilling effects on America. It’s showing just how serious and impactful even the mention of a gun on school campuses can be, and it’s also proving just how quickly misinformation spreads in the age of social media. Luckily, no one was hurt, but now multiple students face criminal charges for the incident which school officials have called a “cruel prank.”

The incident began at the Mainland High School in Daytona Beach. Last Thursday, September 8th, ABC News reports that the school was made aware of a threat written inside one of the Florida high school bathroom stalls. Officials were unsure who may have left this message, and after investigating several students, the school decided that no immediate threat was present.

Word of the bathroom message must have spread quickly and the next day a group of students attending the Florida high school used the situation to concoct a hoax. Those involved in the elaborate prank were documented on cell phones initiating the scare. Police said that those involved positioned themselves throughout the cafeteria, where one told an administrator someone had a gun while another quickly began running from the building – causing panic and others to flee. 

Authorities have reported that no one appeared to have a firearm, however, the school was placed in lockdown and swept by police. The Florida high school student’s believed to be involved have all been interviewed, and some may face charges for the planned prank. Likewise, detectives involved have recommended that the school expel the students who instigated the hoax.

As community members and the rest of the nation expressed outrage for the lack of empathy conveyed by the group of Florida high school students, this story is particularly significant given the fact that elsewhere in the state, a jury weighs the fate of Nikolas Cruz. Cruz was the gunman who opened fire inside a Parkland school in 2018 killing 14 students and three staffers. Likewise, it is no joke to the families involved in the most recent mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, where families have just returned to school

While it is unclear exactly how, social media must have played a huge role in this tasteless prank as well. In a post to the Daytona Beach Police Department’s official Facebook page, authorities said that various rumors, lies, and conspiracy theories ran amock regarding the incident on social media. Some alleged that students heard popping noises. Another apparent fake message being shared was that one of the Florida high school students reported being held hostage in a classroom by a gunman. 

The investigation of events inside the Florida high school continues to unravel, as families of students eagerly await to figure out what exactly happened last week at Mainland High. While many were clearly upset with the group of students capitalizing off of the original unknown threat, others were furious at the school for downplaying the bathroom message. But most of all, in the age of social media, this story is a perfect example of how quickly incidents can not only be reported but also just how fast rumors and misinformation can spread.