A series of incidents at Bay area schools has put school safety in the spotlight.
The most recent involved a rumored threat of violence at Zephyrhills High School on Thursday. A spokesperson for the police department there said the rumor of a planned shooting started on social media and quickly spread. Several parents kept their kids home for the day.
"I was worried that something would happen, somebody would shoot up the school or something would happen. I don't want to risk my daughter's life," said Barbara Fetzer, whose 17-year-old daughter goes to school at the high school.
Police said they investigated the threat and even went to the homes of two students. Authorities determined the school was safe but still sent several extra officers to the school.
Earlier in the week, Hillsborough School Resource Deputies confiscated weapons at several schools: razor blades at Randall Middle, a stun gun at Lennard High and a three-and-a-half-inch knife at Eisenhower Middle.
"It becomes dangerous first for the students, the faculty and also the School Resource Deputy because there's only one," said Sgt. Jesse Warren, with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, adding there was a fourth incident at another school in which a deputy had to use a taser to break up a fight.
St. Petersburg police also recently released a video they recorded, showing how they now use police dogs as a prevention measure in schools.
Warren said the incidents this week show how important these kinds of safety measures are.
"You get the five percent of anything and they're not there to learn. They're there to cause problems," he said, adding most weapons are actually reported by students.
Parents, meanwhile, said the best prevention starts at home.
"I think parents can be the solution." Fetzer said. "I think if they're just more involved they won't have this problem."
Zephyrhills police said they will continue to investigate origin of the rumored threat and could file charges if they find the source.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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