Inverness, FL–On May 5, 2017, Citrus High School administrators were made aware of a threat of school violence written on the wall on one of the girls’ bathroom’s at the school. According to a May 10, 2017 statement on the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office Facebook, “School officials quickly notified our agency as soon as the threat/vandalism was found.” The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office has classified this threat as a low-level threat, noting nothing serious is associated with the incident.
In an interview with Assistant Superintendent Mike Mullen on May 9, 2017, the Suncoast Standard asked whether or not a threat was made on Friday, May 5th. Mullen confirmed that writing was discovered on the wall in a bathroom, however, he stated that there was no validity to the threat. When questioned as to whether or not there was an investigation underway, Mullen did confirm there was an active investigation underway. When asked why the administration at CHS, or the School District, did not notify parents on the day of the incident, Mullen responded, “If we called parents every time, we would spend all day making calls.”
The Standard began receiving tips on this story via social media as students and parents discussed the threat, shared pictures of the written threats on the wall, and voiced dissatisfaction with the lack of information coming from the District or the school. One family came forward to voice their dissatisfaction with the lack of communication to parents. Deb Pucillo, a parent of a Sophomore at Citrus High School, is outraged at the handling of this incident. “The problem is the school didn’t want the parents to know about this. I called the school yesterday to ask them about it and they called my daughter into the office and yelled at her for telling her parents.” Pucillo claims that Tuesday, one of the administrators at Citrus High School called her daughter into his office and told her that she was causing unneeded panic for a rumor. Pucillo went on to state, “I agree that it could be just something someone thought would be a joke, but in this day and time, I think the school should have taken it a little more serious.”
For Deb, the idea that a school official would call the statements written on the bathroom wall a rumor, when evidence has been public on social media since Saturday disputing that notion, she wonders what the school thought it would accomplish by keeping this threat from parents. Deb feels that had the school been upfront and transparent on Friday, the “rumors” would never have occurred, and the panic that ensued could have been avoided.
The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office stated in their Facebook post Wednesday afternoon, “As with any threat – even low risk, we are taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of our students on campus.”
The Standard is not publicizing the exact words of the threat out of an abundance of caution. However, many parents are familiar with the threat that was made and are keeping their students home on Friday. Parents remain angry and concerned for the safety of their children, five days after the incident.
If you have any tips or information about this threat please contact the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office by clicking this link: To share tips about the Citrus High School threat, click here. You can also call (352) 726-1121.
Suncoast Standard (c) Submitted on 5/11/2017 at 10:11 AM
By: Dawn Jaglowski, Investigative Reporter