DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The Daytona Beach Police Department said Sunday in a lengthy Facebook post that it appears a recent school threat at Mainland High School was the result of a "cruel prank," and will be filing charges against the students allegedly involved.
Police said they would also recommend to the district that those students be expelled.
"There are a lot of rumors, conspiracy theories and lies floating around on social media about Friday’s events," Daytona Beach Police Department wrote on its official Facebook page. "In order to be transparent and dispel what is being posted; here is an update on the investigation and a timeline of events."
According to the post, police responded to Mainland High School on Thursday, Sept. 8, after a threat was written on a bathroom stall. Police interviewed two students who denied being involved, police said, adding that "this type of graffiti on this particular bathroom stall has become a common occurrence."
Police determined that "no threat existed."
On Friday, Sept. 9, Daytona Beach Police Department posted on Twitter that it was responding again to Mainland High School after an emergency button – also called a panic alarm – was triggered. After a few hours, police said it appeared to be a false alarm and that no threat existed.
In Sunday's Facebook post, police elaborated on what allegedly happened.
"Two groups of students in the Mainland Cafeteria decided to capitalize on the threat from the day before (bathroom stall) and appear to collaborate with each other to create a panic," police wrote.
"Several female students walk towards the school administrator laughing and smiling, all the way, up until they reached the administrator, at which point one of the females tells the administrator that someone had a gun. At this same time, one of the male kids, already positioned near the exit to the cafeteria, waited until the female student made the statement, then looked at her and ran out of the building, causing a large crowd to follow him," police said.
Daytona Beach police said the students from both groups have been identified and nearly all of them have been interviewed by detectives. However, students' stories have allegedly changed and no one has been able to identify a gun in video, or where the shooting was allegedly to take place.
"This entire incident appears to have been a cruel prank by several students that has now gotten out of control due to internet trolls, miss-informed people and in some cases, people that are not even in Florida, or have kids that go to school at Mainland," the police department said.
"As mentioned by Chief Young from the Daytona Beach Police Department, this was a very cruel prank that disrupted the school day," Volusia County Schools said in a statement Monday.
"To prevent these types of situations from occurring in the future, we are asking parents and guardians to communicate with their children how dangerous these pranks are, how they create a very unsafe school environment, and how serious the internal and external consequences are," the statement read.
Police said it would recommend a charge of making a false report concerning the use of firearms against each student involved, a second-degree felony. Details about the students involved, including names, ages, or grade level, was not released.
Police said it would also recommend that each of the students be expelled from school. There will also be an increase in police presence on Monday.