Threatening message found at Gateway K-8 causes concern

HOMESTEAD, FLA. (WSVN) - Parents are concerned after a student at a South Florida school discovered a threatening message in a restroom.

The message, which read, “Gateway gonna get shot up on October 13, 2017. It’s going to be a tragedy,” was written on a bathroom wall at Gateway Environmental K-8 Learning Center in Homestead.

According to school administrators, the student responsible was immediately identified and disciplined after police determined he posed no threat.

The message was also removed from the wall.

Some parents said they received little to no information from the school about the incident.

One woman said her 13-year-old son showed her a photo of the message that he had taken before it was removed.

“I called the following day, and I asked about the incident. I was given the run-around, put on hold a few times. I waited about six days, called again, again the run-around,” said the mother, who has five kids currently attending Gateway K-8.

She said she called back a third time, Wednesday afternoon, and a school employee told her, “My kids come to the school, and they’re not coming to school that day.”

Miami-Dade County Public Schools said over 1,000 parents were notified of the incident via phone call, the morning of Oct. 4.

The call said, in part, “The administration was made aware of a threatening message found in a school bathroom. The Miami-Dade Schools Police Department was immediately contacted and thoroughly investigated this incident. They have determined this to be non-credible.”

The call did not specify the nature of the threatening message but said there would be an increase in security at the school, Friday, out of an abundance of caution.

“I haven’t received such message and neither has my husband,” said the mother, who said her kids will be staying home on Friday.

Alma Aguilar, whose granddaughter attends Gateway K-8, received the district’s message on her phone but wanted more details about what the threat actually said.

“Now I wish the school had been that specific in their message so that we, as parents, would make a choice,” said Aguilar. “I’m not sending my granddaughter to school tomorrow.”

Another mother returned to Gateway K-8, Friday, and took her son back home early after learning about the threatening message on 7News. “I saw your news today, and we weren’t informed of that,” she said.

“You’re playing with children’s lives, and that’s just not right,” said the mother. “You have a moral obligation to tell parents that their school has a potential of being shot up. Look at Las Vegas, look at Columbine — this is not a joke. Let me make my own decision. Don’t take away my right as a parent. Not saying that it was going to happen, but what if?”

The school day went on as scheduled, Friday.

Some families felt it was safe to send their kids to school.

“I really didn’t wanna go to school, but my mom made me ’cause she was like it’s gonna be officers out here and stuff,” said one student.

Some students told 7News that they did notice more officers, Friday, than they’re used to seeing on school grounds.

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