COCONUT CREEK, Fla. – A 15-year-old student was arrested on the first day of school in Broward County Monday after he brought a gun to school, authorities said.
Coconut Creek police confirmed the teen was arrested around 1:15 p.m. Monday at Coconut Creek High School, located at 1400 NW 44th Ave.
According to police, after receiving an anonymous tip from a student, the gun was found in the teen’s backpack.
Local 10 News spoke with students on Tuesday who said they heard their principal making a safety announcement over the school’s public announcement system.
“She was like, ‘You need to listen. This is very important. We are going on lockdown -- everybody be quiet,’” said student Latasija Williams.
The teen faces two felony charges that include carrying a concealed weapon and possession of a firearm by someone under 18 years of age, and one misdemeanor charge of causing a school disruption.
Following the incident, other students, like DJ Deam, told Local 10 News that he hopes others “grow up” before deciding to bring a gun to school.
“They got to do better with themselves,” he said. “It’s childish (and) they got to grow up. There is more to school than bringing guns.”
“It was kinda crazy,” said Jada Mann, another student at Coconut Creek High School. “It’s the first day of school. I don’t know who you would have beef with on the first day of school.”
Local 10 News spoke with Scotty Leaman, a spokesperson with the Coconut Creek Police Department, who said there was no indication that the teen threatened anyone on campus with the gun.
“We don’t have any indication right now that I know of that the student waved it around or threatened anybody with it, but still the bottom line is you can’t bring these things to school no matter who you are,” he said.
Superintendent Peter Licata released the following statement Tuesday: “We are deeply disturbed (about the) student’s actions; however, we are pleased that the message of See Something, Say Something continues to help our schools be safer learning environments for all. It was thanks to a student seeing and saying something that campus security was alerted of the issue. The school’s leadership immediately placed the school on Lockdown status and worked with law enforcement to safely recover the weapon from the student’s backpack. This incident did not involve any threats toward the school, its students or any staff. The student was arrested by law enforcement and is facing appropriate school disciplinary actions.
“School safety is everyone’s responsibility. Parents are encouraged to speak with their children about the severe consequences of bringing weapons or other banned items onto school campuses – and if you see something, say something.”
Local 10 News obtained the voicemail that parents received Monday from Coconut Creek High School Principal Nicole Nearor. You can listen to the voicemail in the video below.
Students told Local 10 News that they thought the school handled the incident well after going into lockdown swiftly and efficiently.
“I think it was good because we didn’t know what was happening and everything was really calm instead of causing a lot of chaos, so I think it was really good,” said Williams.
Leaman said he hopes the teen can turn his life around following the incident.
“We hope this student realizes that this is not the right path to go down and there is still time in this young man’s life that he can turn it around,” he said.
Police also urged students to speak up if they see something that could place other students and staff in danger and commended the student who sent the anonymous tip.
“I think one of the big things we could all learn here is if you see any kind of weapon -- a knife, a handgun -- go ahead, tell a teacher, tell the SRO, a member of the school security staff because that is what you want to do,” said Leaman.