NORTH MASON — In the wake of this week’s school shooting in Florida, North Mason school and law enforcement officials were leaving nothing to chance.
A Hawkins Middle School student was taken into custody and questioned Thursday after making a comment to a staff member that implied a potential threat.
The student was not arrested and has been referred for mental health counseling, said Lt. Jason Dracobly, who added, "The school's safe. Kids are safe."
The 14-year-old boy had been in a one-on-one session with the staff member at the school when the topic came up of the shooting in Parkland, Fla., where authorities say a former student opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, killing 17 people and wounding 14. The suspect, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, was charged Thursday with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
The Hawkins staff member was concerned by comments the student made about the incident, Dracobly said.
“They were talking about the offense in Florida, and he made some general comment about, ‘I’ve thought about this in the past,’” Dracobly said. “That alerted the school, and they got concerned and they called us.”
The student was not arrested. “There’s no criminal intent as far as we can find,” Dracobly said.
Dracobly said the student is not currently attending the school, and he believed there was an emergency expulsion. Authorities are arranging mental health support for the student.
“Everybody, I think, is a little touchy right now with everything that’s going on, and I can’t blame anybody for being concerned,” Dracobly said.
Hawkins and nearby North Mason High School experienced an extended lockdown on April 26, as authorities investigated reports of someone with a gun. The reports turned out to be unfounded, but the incident rattled nerves and heightened concern about an active shooter.
On Thursday, North Mason School District notified parents by email and social media about of the incident involving the Hawkins student. In an email sent out at 1:49 p.m., the district stated that “10 minutes ago” school officials learned of “a possible threat today at Hawkins Middle School. School administrators investigated and contacted law enforcement immediately. After assessing the situation, law enforcement took the suspect into custody. All students and staff are safe.”