On 02/07/2017 at about 12:50 PM, school resource officers with the Bartow Police Dept. were notified of a possibly security threat on campus. Additional support from our patrol section was immediately summoned and the Safe Schools Division of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office was notified, in an abundance of caution. Initial reports by a High School student were that a male subject was observed carrying an unknown type firearm in a gym style bag. Based upon this information, Bartow High School was placed on lock down and officers began a coordinated deployment throughout the school, with the assistance of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
As detectives with the Bartow Police Department interviewed the 17-year old senior student, information developed that this story was a hoax. Detectives learned that the student had concocted the story and the student admitted that a firearm was never observed.
Upon learning this information and clearing the school of any threats, students were released for the day at around 2:30PM.
Based upon our investigation the reporting student was taken into custody for an involuntary mental evaluation pursuant to the Baker Act. Charges related to Disruption of a School and False Reporting of the incident are pending.
Due to the student’s age and mental health status, the department will not be releasing the child’s information at this time.
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