Key West and Marathon high schools were evacuated early Monday morning due to a bomb threat.
The Monroe County Sheriff's Office and Key West Police Department checked both schools for legitimate threats. All students were safely evacuated, but police kept the public, including parents, away from both schools.
"Everyone is safe," said communications officer Deputy Becky Herrin.
In Marathon, parents met their children at the Kmart parking lot on U.S. 1.
Never miss a local story.
Alyson Crean, spokeswoman for the Key West Police Department, said classes at Key West High were canceled. Officers swept the campus and did not find any bombs or other threats. The department announced the school was clear around noon.
"Key West police have ascertained that there was no explosive device at Key West High School," Crean said. "After a thorough search, they have deemed the school clear."
Deputies cleared Marathon High School around 10:30 a.m. Students and staff were allowed back inside shortly after, Herrin said.
"We thank everyone for their patience," she said.
Jonathan Grondland, a ninth-grader at Key West High, was in world history when an announcement came over the loud speaker.
"We were just sitting in class," Jonathan said. "With all that is going on in the world, not really surprised that things like this are going to keep on happening."
Sam Leroy, a senior at Key West High, was sitting in anatomy class when the schoolwide announcement told students to evacuate the building and into the parking lot shortly after 8:10 a.m. Teachers and administrators stood nearby, as police directed parents to pick up their students on Fourth Street.
"I'm kind of surprised this sort of thing happened," he said, noting that he wasn't scared because of the police and fire presence on the scene.
Marathon High School received its bomb threat at 8:19 a.m., Herrin said.
In the Upper Keys, classes at Coral Shores High School were not affected by the bomb threats in the Middle and Lower Keys.
"We notified staff that there was a bomb threat at Marathon and Key West high schools do they could minimize the hysteria," said Coral Shores High School Principal Blake Fry. "We've done a real good job at rumor control. It's business as usual here."
Monday was the third time since October Keys schools have been the focus of law enforcement.
On Dec. 7, Coral Shores High in Tavernier was locked down when the child of a parent reported seeing someone with a rifle. It likely was an umbrella and no gunman was found.
In October, Key West High was locked down after an armed robbery nearby. Police suspected the gunman may have gone onto campus but he wasn't found that day. He surrendered days later to police a day after a shootout with Sheriff's Office deputies on Stock Island.
The Monroe County Sheriff's Office and Key West Police Department are investigating the threats. Herrin said calling in a bomb threat is a second-degree felony.
With reporting by Anthony Cave (firstname.lastname@example.org) in Key West, William Axford (email@example.com) in Marathon and David Goodhue (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the Upper Keys.