Coral Gables students feared 'shoot up threat' left in boy's restroom

Fear in Coral Gables prompts protest in downtown Miami

Michael Marquez, left, and Arman Kremer, right, were among dozens who were protesting Friday afternoon in downtown Miami.
Michael Marquez, left, and Arman Kremer, right, were among dozens who were protesting Friday afternoon in downtown Miami.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – There was fear at Coral Gables Senior High School this week, after students found a note inside the boy's bathroom with a threat that someone was going to "shoot up the school" on Friday.  

After reporting the note to administrators, Miami-Dade County Public Schools police detectives investigated the threat and deemed it "non-credible" Wednesday, according to Coral Gables officials.  

"We continue investigating every incident that comes in," the city's statement said. 

Students began sharing the note on social media Tuesday, six days after Nikolas Cruz used an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle to kill 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. The shooting sparked outrage around the country and demands for preventive action. 

Some mistrustful Coral Gables High School students claimed their teachers had threatened to issue a school discipline referral if they continued to disseminate the threat. Silvia Lerma was among the students who used the hash tag "See Something Say Something" to protest the threat of punishment as a contradiction and the feeling that their voices were not being heard. 

"Stick to your right and freedom of speech," she wrote to Gabriela Morales, who alleged she had been threatened with punishment for warning her friends. "We can't allow [these] things to stay secret or secluded. Talk to your parents or any family members for support. Thank you for not being silent."

Michael Marquez, 20, a Miami Dade College sophomore who graduated from Coral Gables Senior High School in 2015, was alarmed when he learned about the threat and the students' fear that the threat was not being taken seriously.

Marquez and his two friends, Matias Lopez, 18, a senior at MCA Academy in Coconut Grove, and Arman Kremer, 17, a senior at Mast Academy in Key Biscayne, organized a Friday afternoon protest in downtown Miami. Dozens responded and marched from Bayfront Park to the Freedom Tower where they chanted calls to action and messages of solidarity with the "Never Again" movement.

"When I found out about the threat, I was upset," said Marquez, who belongs to the Coral Gables Senior High School class of 2015. "We really needed to do something. Everyone is scared, but this isn't a time to sit around in fear."

This week students organized walkouts and marches at several high schools in South Florida, including Miami Beach, Dillard, Northeast, J.P. Taravella, Coral Springs, West Broward, Cooper City, Mast Academy, Pembroke Pines, Hialeah Gardens, West Boca and Deerfield Beach. The growing "Never Again" movement is preparing for a March 24 demonstration being promoted nationwide as "The March For Our Lives." 

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