LAKELAND, Fla. - Lakeland Police have arrested and charged three students from Sleepy Hill Middle School who are accused of making threats to cause "chaos."
School personnel called police after finding disturbing information on one of the student's notebooks. An investigation was launched, and police were able to piece together that the student and two others were plotting an attack together.
The students, 12 and 13 years old, have been charged with Conspiracy to Commit First Degree Murder, Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Battery and Conspiracy to Construct Destructive Devices. All the charges are felony charges but current plans are to charge them as juveniles.
Two of the children were arrested last week. The third, the apparent ringleader, was Baker-Acted yesterday and is still institutionalized. She is being monitored by a deputy. Officials say the girl was interested in mass murders and had done research on mass killings like Columbine and Sandy Hook.
Although there may have been a discussion about building a bomb, "nothing went beyond pencil and paper," police say. No materials to create a bomb were purchased.
At this point, investigators do not believe any other students are involved.
Lakeland Police and school leaders believe that because of the alert actions from the school employee, a potential crisis may have been averted. Although no specific students or teachers were named in the plans, the children did talk and write about targeting the school campus.
School officials told ABC Action News that parents can expect a phone call from the school district to explain what happened and that their kids are safe.
The neighbor of one of the girls witnessed her arrest at a Lakeland mobile home park.
"There was no fight. She was very quiet," said Raymond Daunhauer said. "She went peacefully."
According to Daunhauer, the girl complained of bullying at school, and grew exasperated. He believes she never planned to follow through on any violent plot.
"Nobody would help her, from what I was told. She went to counseling, went to the teachers, everybody ignored her. She made that idle threat, but it was the wrong threat to make in this day and age."