2 juveniles arrested after threats at Gainesville High

Staff writer Alexis Stevens contributed to this article.

Two boys have been charged in connection with threats scrawled on a bathroom wall at Gainesville High School, police said.

Police and school leaders used surveillance video and tips to help identify the two boys believed responsible, authorities said Wednesday. The names of the students were not released because they are juveniles.

One suspect was charged with terroristic threats and acts, interference with government property, and disruption of a public school, and was being held at the Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Cpl. Kevin Holbrook said. The second juvenile was charged with making false statements, Holbrook said.

School officials responded to the threats by ordering a higher police presence, bringing in bomb-sniffing dogs to canvas the school perimeter and searching all backpacks when students arrived, Gainesville schools Superintendent Marrianne Dyer said.

Dyer said parents were notified of the threats through reverse phone calls and emails.

“We notified parents because parents were receiving the pictures via social media and they didn’t know where (the pictures) were coming from,” she said.

Authorities said that Tuesday a student found the words “Thursday there will be no more Gainesville High School. And I’m going to bring my gun! And kill everyone!” written on a boys bathroom wall.

A second threat “said ‘we have explosives and will blow this place up,’” Dyer said.

School officials said attendance Wednesday was down between 8 percent and 10 percent.

Ultimately, authorities concluded the threats were not legitimate, Dyer said.

“Police don’t believe it and we concur that it is a prank,” she said. “There doesn’t appear to be a serious threat. But you never know.”

In the wake of incidents like the deadly Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last December in Newtown, Conn., and the firing of shots in August by a heavily armed intruder at McNair Discover Learning Academy in DeKalb County, Dyer said school officials can't afford to take such threats lightly.

“These are the kinds of threats that we, 20 years ago, might not have taken seriously,” she said. “But because of the events of the past four years, we can’t ignore this.”