Punta Gorda Middle School was evacuated Monday morning after an 11-year-old student reportedly joked to a teacher about bringing a bomb to school.

After the student made the comment, police were contacted and students were evacuated, according to the Punta Gorda Police Department.

“Out of an abundance of caution, they’ve evacuated the school,” Lt. Dylan Renz said Monday morning.

A PGPD press release stated the student made a comment to a teacher while entering the classroom about a bomb in the student’s backpack. This was a line from a movie the student had watched with their father the night before, according to police. The student and the teacher reportedly would recite movie quotes to each other, but the teacher did not recognize what the student said at the time as a line from a movie.

“The teacher also confirmed that the student had made the comment in a playful manner and did not appear to be serious,” the press release stated, “but district policy required that he report the incident.”

Students were sent outside and nobody was in danger, according to Renz.

“Law enforcement has stepped in and are at the school,” Riley said Monday morning. “We stand down and this is in their hands at this time.”

Portions of the roadway surrounding the school were closed while police searched the campus.

Charlotte High School and Sallie Jones Elementary School were put on a “soft” lockdown, which means that they were still conducting business, but nobody was allowed to enter the campus.

This is standard procedure when there is an incident at any of the schools, Renz said.

Around 11:30 a.m., Punta Gorda Middle School was cleared out and deemed to be safe. Students went back to classes.

The investigation determined the student did not intend to make a false report of a bomb. However, the student was issued a civil citation for disruption of a school function, according to PGPD.

The student who made the comment will face disciplinary consequences per the district’s Code of Conduct, said Mike Riley, Charlotte County Public Schools spokesman.


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