A Florida middle school student was caught with what has been deemed an “arsenal of weapons” in his backpack. The Sunrise Middle School student, 13, reportedly possessed several guns, a knife, ammunition, a mask, and fireworks.
The Sunrise Middle School student was caught with the weapons when another Florida boy was seen giving him a knife. Both of the Florida boys were placed on an “involuntary hold” due to Baker Act dictates. The law permits authorities to examine the mental health of individuals before releasing them.
The Florida middle school student caught with the backpack full of guns, ammo, and knives faces charges of disruption of a school function and weapons possession, as well as possible expulsion from the school district.
Sunrise Middle School Principal Michael Walker told both parents and faculty that the school remained safe, but some educators were reportedly still concerned. A.357 Smith & Wesson handgun was among the items in the 13-year-old student’s backpack.
“All I can tell you is that we are addressing the situation. We have it contained. We are fully aware of what and who and how it happened, and they are minors and I can’t go into detail, into specifics of how they’re being handled,” Principal Walker told a group of parents gathered at the school.
Fort Lauderdale police detective Tracy Figone said both of the male students were taken into custody Friday. It remains unknown where the boys got the weapons or what they planned to do, if anything, with the guns, knives, and ammo.
“Two students were Backer Acted on the weapons complaint,” Detective Figone said. “Charges are pending.”
“It seems calculated, whatever the [student’s] plan was. I’ve never, never in all the years of teaching, even heard of this in Broward County,” said Mary Fitzgerald, a school teacher and union representative at Sunrise Middle School.
“Student safety is always the District’s highest priority, and the school followed all the proper protocols and have worked to keep parents informed,’ Broward County Public Schools representative Cathleen Brennan said. “If teachers feel safe, the students will feel safe. They sense it.”
The Fort Lauderdale, Florida boy’s mother and their attorney, Jim Stark, both refused requests for comment by the media. The Sunrise Middle School student who was reportedly seen giving a knife to the young man with the backpack full of weapons was also held and examined under Baker Act statutes.
Another meeting has been scheduled for Thursday evening with faculty, and a more detailed account of what happened has been posted in an online forum only accessible by staff at the school.