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Parents call for accountability after 'botched' threat at a Hillsborough County charter school

Posted at 10:35 PM, Apr 09, 2019

LUTZ, Fla. -- A group of parents are formulating a plan to hold charter school administrators accountable after they say a violent school threat wasn't taken seriously.

ABC Action News first reported on the March 12 incident, after a student brought a knife to Sunlake Academy Math & Science and later threatened to "shoot up the school."

A report from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office indicates school officials failed to notify law enforcement on the day of the incident.

RELATED: Parents claim Hillsborough County charter school principal covered up school threat

The company that operates Sunlake Academy, Charter School Associates, Inc., states since it was a pocket knife, also known as a "common" knife and not a weapon, they are not required to immediately alert law enforcement.

It was later revealed in the investigation that the same student made verbal threats to shoot up the school. A text and voice alert to parents the next day dismissed the violent statement as only a rumor.

"There could have been another school shooting and we may be looking at another Parkland or Sandy Hook," said Brittany Galvin. "I felt like my kids could be dead right now and they'e done nothing about it."

About a dozen frustrated parents got together Tuesday night to formulate their next steps in making sure this doesn't happen again. Many believe the charter school isn't doing enough to improve protocols and communication with parents.

"They would like us to simply accept what they have said, what they have done and move on and that's just not acceptable to us," said Greg McNutt.

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Charter School Associates, Inc. responded to ABC Action News. A statement from Ken Green, Senior Vice President for Education reads in part:

"We also firmly believe there was no intention to cover up a threat within the school. However, a set of circumstances led to the school releasing an initial statement that did not include all available information and was therefore inaccurate... This miscommunication resulted in a text and phone call early the morning of March 13th that stated there was no threat and that rumors were false. The school's communication failed to address the verbal threat as those statements had not yet been investigated... We are concerned that the miscommunication occurred and we are taking steps to ensure this will not happen again."