Florida Keys

10-year-old Florida Keys girl faces charges after bringing knife to school, police say

A 10-year-old Florida Keys girl faces a weapons possession charge after police say she brought a steak knife to school Friday morning to protect herself against potential armed attackers.

The girl, who attends Stanley Switlik Elementary School, did not threaten to use the knife on anyone, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

“I am grateful that this young girl did not threaten anyone, and that did not appear to be her intent,” Sheriff Rick Ramsay said in a statement.

Adam Linhardt, sheriff’s office spokesman, said the girl showed it to a schoolmate shortly before classes began around 8 a.m. She said that she would use it to protect herself if an armed attacker entered the school, which is located in the Middle Keys city of Marathon.

Another student reported the conversation to front office staff, Linhardt said. The school principal and a deputy detailed as a school resource officer stopped the girl as she was leaving the cafeteria and took her to the office.

They found the knife in her backpack, and she admitted telling her friend that she intended to use it to protect herself if an armed intruder assaulted the school.

“This was an unfortunate incident, but it was handled quickly by our School Resource Officer Robert Bulnes and school officials,” Ramsay said.

Police consulted with the state Department of Juvenile Justice and the State Attorney’s Office, which will be proceeding with the weapons possession charge. However, officials decided not to arrest her, instead issuing her a notice to appear in court, Linhardt said.

She was released to her parents’ custody later in the morning.

David Goodhue covers the Florida Keys and South Florida for FLKeysNews.com and the Miami Herald. Before joining the Herald, he covered Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware.