Vero Beach student suspended over social media picture, parents - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Vero Beach student suspended over social media picture, parents want stricter punishment

VERO BEACH, Fla. - Parents at a school in Vero Beach are concerned about a picture making its rounds on social media.

Imagine South Vero Charter School confirms the picture depicts one of its students holding a BB-gun with the words "Goin 2 the shootin range today (school)".

Some parents say they viewed it as a threat, and do not think the school handled the threat the way they hoped the school would.

The Indian River County Sheriff's Office says the picture was brought to their attention by the school administration nearly two weeks ago.

The school did its own internal review of the photo. The sheriff's office also did an investigation along with the state attorney's office, finding the threat was not credible.

A spokesperson for Imagine schools says the school followed its policies on how to discipline the student.

The sheriff's office says the student was suspended.

But, parents are concerned the student was back in school, they say, before they even knew what happened.

"I know this stuff goes around all the time. I know kids think it's cool or make cracks, but the reality is you don't know which one is actually going to be the kid to blow up and start shooting at school," one parent said who did not want to be identified.

Parents say the school did not acknowledge the picture until Tuesday, when it started spreading on social media.

Principal Chris Rock send the following email to parents Tuesday:

Dear Parents,
As your partner in education, there is nothing more important than the safety and health of our students. That’s why I am writing to share with you information about an incident that occurred this week.

One of our students made a social media post that might be considered threatening. In accordance with our policies, we conducted an internal review of the situation. We also contacted local authorities, who conducted an independent investigation. The results from both inquiries deemed this threat not credible.

Based upon our policies, we have taken appropriate disciplinary action regarding the student involved.

Parents, I want to reassure you that proper actions were taken and no students were injured. I encourage you to use these facts in answering questions or concerns your child may have. Please also use this as an opportunity to remind your child that actions have consequences, and it is important we keep our school environment safe and focused on academic success.

Should you have further questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me directly. As always, thank you for the privilege of partnering with you to educate your child at Imagine South Vero.
Chris RockPrincipal
Imagine South Vero

But, parents say they're concerned the student is back in class, according to other students.

"I feel like he kind of got away with it. He got suspended. There's nothing else they can do at this point."

Parents say their children are afraid.

"There's a lot of kids that texted and call their parents when they saw this child back at school. They said we don't want to be here with him, we don't want to be here at all. He may do something."

Parents had planned to protest outside the school Wednesday morning.  However, the school sent an email Tuesday night that the child who uploaded the photo would not be in school Wednesday, so there was no protest.

Copyright 2016 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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