Florida

Fifth-graders had ‘a plot to murder another student’ after school, Florida police say

Two students at Roberts Elementary School in Tallahassee, Florida, planned to murder another classmate after school and escape in a golf cart, according to a report from the Tallahassee Police Department.
Two students at Roberts Elementary School in Tallahassee, Florida, planned to murder another classmate after school and escape in a golf cart, according to a report from the Tallahassee Police Department. Screengrab from WCTV

After school officials got word that two fifth-graders planned to “murder” one of their classmates, Florida police say, they found knives, pliers and wrenches inside one of their backpacks.

Now, police say those two students from Roberts Elementary School in Tallahassee face “juvenile civil citations for conspiracy to commit battery and bringing weapons on school grounds,” according to WCTV. They are 10- and 11-years-old, according to police.

“It turns out that one of the students brought some tools to the schools and actually planned out the act of harming that student, and again that did not occur,” Damon Miller, spokesperson for the Tallahassee Police Department, told WFSU. “The Tallahassee Police Department consulted with the state attorney’s office and the ultimate result was that the students were given civil citations.”

Police say the victim — an 11-year-old boy at the school — reported that he was being bullied by a student, who also threatened him with physical violence and “murder,” according to WTXL.

That student, one of the two accused of the plot, was put in timeout on Dec. 10, police say, after he “told (the victim) he was going to kill him.” The victim was again threatened on Dec. 13 — this time by the pair of students, whom police say made the threat that they would “take care of him and kill him,” according to The Tallahassee Democrat.

The victim said he received warnings from multiple classmates on Dec. 14 that the two students had a plot to harm him after school, police say. After school, one of those students “asked (the victim) ‘Do you want to go to the secret hideout at the garden?” WTXL reported.

At first, the goal was to harm the student at a part of the school that security cameras did not record, police say, but then they settled on the garden, according to The Tallahassee Democrat.

An uninvolved student “told investigators the two students said they had (baseball) gloves so there would be no fingerprints,” according to The Tallahassee Democrat. “They planned to use the pliers to cut the lock on the gate and run away in a golf cart down Centerville Road after harming the victim.”

The victim alerted school staff when the students tried to lure him to the garden after school on Dec. 14, police say. Staff then searched the students’ backpacks and found an assortment of tools and weapons, police say, but one of the two students argued he “only wanted to confront the victim.”

Now, the students accused of the plot are suspended and could face expulsion, depending on the school board’s decision, according to WCTV. Chris Petley, public information officer for Leon County Schools, told WCTV that he “did not have a date for when” the board would decide.

In a statement to the school community, principal Kim McFarland wrote that she tried to instill an important lesson from the incident.

“I met with the 5th grade students Monday morning to discuss the importance of “I see something, I say something.” Many 5th grade students knew of the potential incident but did not tell teachers or their parents,” she wrote, according to WCTV. “We discussed the importance of alerting adults when there is any concern for safety for themselves or their fellow students.”

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