More than 1,000 students stayed home from an Ocala, Fla., high school Monday following a mass-shooting threat posted on social media over the weekend, Click Orlando reports.
According to the report, Marion County Public Schools officials said that three students at West Port High School brought a Confederate flag to school and took it out during lunch, waving it around, which prompted a fight with other students.
“Obviously, they did this together,” school-district spokesman Kevin Christian told the news site. “They planned it out. It was calculated. They knew exactly what was going to happen. They wanted a response and they got a response.”
WFTV9 reported that out of the nearly 2,600 students of the school, more than 1,600 stayed home. According to the news station, those students who opted to attend class got extra protection from 10 Ocala police officers. WFTV9 also reported that it was four students who brought the small Confederate flags.
One black student was put off by the gesture and reportedly punched one of the offenders. She was given a juvenile civil citation for the hit, WFTV9 reports, while those who brought the flags were disciplined by the school.
Click Orlando notes that because there was no school Friday, Christian believed that the incident was left to fester on social media, eventually culminating in the mass-shooting threat. According to the site, however, parents were not told about the incident.
“Nobody’s telling anybody anything,” one parent, Cindie Carrier, who opted to keep her kids home, told Click Orlando. Carrier was upset that the district did not issue an automated call explaining the shooting threat, which was later determined to be unfounded.
“We as parents have a right, and we put our children in that school, and we assume that they’re protected while they’re there. If there was a problem, why were we not contacted?” she said.
“You have to understand, we want to share factual information,” Christian said.
When asked whether parents should have been notified, he acknowledged, “That is a conversation that we are having. I had several conversations with parents this morning saying, ‘Why didn’t you just call us?’ And that’s something we’re discussing.”