Threatening text locks down Windermere High School

The high school was placed on lockdown after students received a text message warning of a shooting.

  • Southwest Orange
  • News
  • Share

A threatening text message sent to Windermere High School students caused a four-hour code-red lockdown and a coordinated search of the campus, but two students interviewed regarding the incident will face no charges, Orange County Sheriff's Office officials said.

At about noon Thursday, Sept. 21, the school was placed on lockdown after some students received a text message warning of a shooting, said Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Deputy Ingrid Tejada-Monforte.

The text read: "Shooting at anytime today we are already inside Windermere High School be safe."

The lockdown was still in effect when parents arrived to pick up their students at 2 p.m. However, they were asked to wait in the parking lot at the Summerport Publix.

During the lockdown, Windermere High officials stayed in touch with parents through Facebook. 

"There has not — not — been a shooting at Windermere High School," school officials wrote on the page. "All students are safe and secured. The (Sheriff's Office) is conducting a search to make sure the campus is secured."

Tejada-Monforte said no weapons were found on campus.

"Information led to the detention of two male students for questioning," she said. "Nothing suspicious was found on campus or on the individuals being detained for questioning. ... Sheriff's Office detectives responded to interview the two students (who) were detained. Detectives have no charges at this time against the two students (who) were interviewed. Students were released to the custody of the parents. The investigation is active and ongoing."

Orange County Public School officials said the actions by the two students could be categorized into Level III or Level IV of the district’s discipline response code. Level III offenses are major acts of misconduct that includes repeated serious disruptions of school order, threats to the health, safety, and property of others, and other acts of serious misconduct. Level IV acts of misconduct are the most serious. Any Level IV act is grounds for expulsion and may result in a 10-day suspension with consideration for a recommendation for expulsion.

Under Level IV infractions: “Any direct threat, by word or act, to do violence or harm to an OCPS employee,

contracted personnel, volunteer, authorized adult or student which creates a fear that the threat could be carried out.”

Furthermore, the district has defined policies regarding the use of electronic devices to carry out threats of this nature.

“The use of the internet or an electronic device to convey any communication, image or illustration that causes or contributes to the intimidation, harassment, abuse or disparagement of students and staff is strictly prohibited,” the code reads. “This includes any such communication, image, or illustration that is prepared or originates off school grounds and adversely impacts the educational environment at school for students or staff.

“The following electronic communication conveyed by internet or an electronic device is prohibited: cyber- stalking, bullying/cyberbullying, sexting, coercion, extortion, making threats of violence or harm, or other computer-related crimes that impact the educational environment. 

“Violation of the Abuse of Electronic and Internet/Communication Devices policy or any School Board adopted policy related to the use of telecommunication or electronic devices may result in discipline in accordance with the Code of Student Conduct,” it reads. “OCPS administrators have sole discretion to determine whether any electronic communication, image, or illustration violates this policy and the Code of Student Conduct.”

It is unclear whether the two students who were questioned faced disciplinary actions related to this incident.

“Due to FERPA laws we cannot share student information which includes disciplinary action,” OCPS Media Relations Manager Lorena Hitchcock said. “However, we do follow disciplinary actions based on the Code of Student Conduct.”

The lockdown also forced a lockout at nearby Keene's Crossing Elementary. All after-school activities and practices at Windermere High also were canceled.



Michael Eng

As a child, Editor and Publisher Michael Eng collected front pages of the Kansas City Star during Operation Desert Storm, so it was a foregone conclusion that he would pursue a career in journalism. He holds a journalism degree from the University of Missouri — Columbia School of Journalism. When he’s not working, you can find him spending time with his wife and three children, or playing drums around town. He’s also a sucker for dad jokes.

Latest News