Parkland student arrested after making shooting threat at school that saw 2018 massacre

‘He doesn’t realise the world is not so safe,’ says mother who claims teen was joking

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Friday 03 December 2021 15:28

Related video: Lawyers argue over ‘Holocaust room’ in Parkland shooting murder trial

A teenager in South Florida has been arrested after he was accused of making a shooting threat against Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the site of a 2018 massacre that took the lives of 17 people.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office has stated that a caller reported the threat late on Wednesday. According to officials, a 17-year-old high school junior sent his classmates a text in a social media group chat around 9pm on Wednesday.

A probable cause affidavit revealed the text message came from student Oliver Manik, who wrote: “I feel like school shooting tmrw (tomorrow). When I sneeze it’s a signal go to the bathroom OK. I hope y’all aren’t snitches.”

Law enforcement found the student at his home and he was arrested early on Thursday, according to the Associated Press. He was taken into custody on one count of writing a threat to conduct a mass shooting.

Principal Michelle Kefford told parents about the threat on Thursday morning via a voicemail.

“I want to thank everyone for their roles in safely resolving this situation,” she said according to WSVN. “I also want to remind all students and families how seriously any and all threats are taken.

“Parents, please speak with your children to remind them that any threat — even if they think it is a joke — will result in serious consequences. In Florida, a threat made against a school is a second-degree felony. Students also face school disciplinary measures as outlined in the Code Book for Student Conduct, including expulsion.”

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, along with some of its students, has been in the middle of the national debate about gun laws after a former student killed 17 and wounded another 17 during a shooting on 14 February 2018.

The arrested teenager’s mother told WSVN that he wasn’t serious about the threat, that it was a joke to her son. She added that the family had lived outside of the US in a country where schools are safer when the 2018 school shooting occurred.

“He’s a normal kid from a normal family and a safe environment. He doesn’t realise the world is not so safe,” she said.

“In my country, schools are very safe. Our mindset is very peaceful. He just wanted to show up among his friends,” she added. “It’s not an excuse for his behaviour. It’s just an explanation for his behaviour. All threats must be investigated. I understand that.”

“It’s pretty concerning for us, like, for our mental health. School is supposed to be like a safe space for all of us,” student Santiago Calderon told WSVN.

“I think it’s crazy that someone would try to do that again and like bring that back,” another student told the outlet.

“I know the kind of jokes they do, they should think about this, about the consequences that come of doing those kinds of things,” a third student added.

The 2018 shooting at the school was one of the worst in American history. Gunman Nikolas Cruz has pleaded guilty and a trial will now decide whether he will be sent to death row or be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

“I’m sorry, we are pissed. I’ve had enough. It’s enough. This is not impossible to solve. It’s not a Second Amendment issue. We can save lives. It’s not rocket science,” Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was killed in the 2018 shooting, said according to WSVN.

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