A student at Winding Waters K-8 school in Weeki Wachee is accused of using her friend’s cell phone to text a bomb threat to a third student at Explorer K-8 in Spring Hill. The ages of the students involved in the incident were not disclosed.
Hernando County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) Public Relations Manager Denise Moloney said that on Jan. 19, Explorer K-8 Assistant Principal Andrew Macgregor told the school’s Resource Deputy Angel Lara that he had met with a student about “concerning” text messages that had been received by the student on the campus.
When they met with the student, he told them that while in class, he received a call from an unknown cell number and when he answered the phone, the caller laughed and talked about working in a convenience store.
When he failed to recognize the cell phone number nor the voice of the caller, the student texted the number requesting that the caller identify themselves.
That caller responded with several text messages, including a threat to “bomb your school.”
The caller went so far as to provide the name of the Explorer K-8 School and the school’s address at Northcliffe Boulevard in Spring Hill, Fla., Moloney said.
Upon reading the messages, Lara called on the HCSO to dispatch additional resources to the school and enacted the proper bomb threat protocols there.
Upon arrival, deputies conducted a thorough search of the campus, but located no suspicious items or contraband.
As a result, the bomb threat protocols were rescinded and the students and staff were allowed back on the campus.
At the same time, the HCSO Crime Analysis Unit learned that the cell phone used to make the threats belonged to the parent of a Winding Waters K-8 school student.
As a result, Winding Waters K-8 Resource Deputy M. Renzkowski, along with the school’s assistant principal, Jennifer de Armas, went to the class where the student was located and removed her and all her belongings from the classroom.
Renzkowski then asked the student’s mother to come to the school.
Subsequently, in her mother’s presence, the student told Renzkowski that she did have her mother’s cell phone with her and that the phone was used to make the false bomb threat.
During the same interview, the student admitted to letting another student use the cell phone from approximately 10:04 a.m. until 11:46 a.m.
That student asked to borrow the phone to make a prank call to her friend who attends Explorer K-8, saying so that the student receiving the call would not know who made it.
A review of the school’s camera system confirmed the student’s account of the events.
When Renzkowski and de Armas met with the student and her mother, the girl admitted to making the original call and sending the text messages containing the bomb threat.
“This is how kids joke,” she told them.
The child also said that she planned to tell the student at Explorer K-8 that it was she who had made the call and sent the text messages but that she forgot to do so.
Following the investigation, deputies arrested the girl and charged her with making a false report of a bomb.
She was taken to the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) in Ocala, where she remains.