Washington High principal did not tell parents about gun in school (update)

Booker T. Washington High School principal Dr. Michael Roberts sent out a robocall to parents yesterday, but he did not tell the parents a student was arrested for carrying a gun on campus.

A parent told Inweekly that Dr. Roberts only said that a student was arrested for having an illegal item.

Escambia County Superintendent Malcom Thomas has confirmed Inweekly’s earlier report that a student was arrested for having a gun at the school.

Thomas would not release any details about the arrest of the student. However, he said Florida law mandates his expulsion.

“It’s a student issue and there is not a lot I will be able to tell you,” Thomas told Inweekly.

Thomas said the student was caught before the gun could be used in a “threatening way.”

“Thankfully, no one was injured or threatened,” Thomas said. “(The gun) wasn’t brandished to other kids.”

Thomas said in eight years, he only remembers two incidents at high schools involving guns, including this one.

“In today’s world we will not blink when we hear there might be a gun,” Thomas said.

Parents have been told both students will be expelled. Superintendent Thomas did not mention a second student.

As soon as the police report on the incident is received, we will post it.

Neither the Pensacola Police Department or the Escambia County School District reported the incident to the public yesterday.

–Duwayne Escobedo contributed to this article.

A relative of the boy who originally brought the handgun on the Booker T. Washington High School campus called Inweekly to say that the student had no intention of hurting anyone but himself. He planned to do it off campus, according to the relative.

She said that William Caldwell took the gun away from him to save his life. When police found the gun in his backpack, Caldwell was arrested and charged with possession of a firearm on school property, a third degree felony.

As of this morning, school officials had not fully notified parents or students about the Tuesday incident or held an assembly to deal with the rumors.


See Police Report


7 thoughts on “Washington High principal did not tell parents about gun in school (update)

  1. Jennifer, thank you for helping dispel these foul rumors. I am a close friend of both students who are getting expelled, and I am very happy that someone is spreading the truth.

  2. And that is where you would be wrong. I could tell you four specific rumors being passed around right now none of which are true, and yes I know this for a fact. Aside from the very basic jist of what happened, there is really nothing else to it. Nothing happened beyond Tuesday except what the kids themselves have dreamed up. The only rumor that seems to be close to being true, is that everything that has been said in the last three days has been said in an effort to get school shut down today. There was no note. There was no botched plan. There was no revenge plan. Its over and done but the kids won’t let it die.
    Shortly after this “article” was published, my daughter was listening to kids sitting in her class reading the lies out loud. This article could very well have been what started that rumor of a “campus shooting” that has run rampant all week. I see those lines have since been removed, but too late, damage is done. This article is most culpable in the chaos that has gone on in the school all week. Take some responsibility.

  3. This principal is inept in every sense of the word ! Jennifer guess what the kids are more informed then administration who is only good at covering his over paid ass

  4. The boy in question had taken the gun from another student who had intended to kill himself. There was no criminal intent yet the student is being made an example of by the misguided prosecutor. This is a disaster in the making.

  5. As an educator, I posted a comment regarding this article, and it hasn’t posted. Any reason why? I was definitely speaking the truth, from my own personal observations of at least 8 different schools

  6. This is so typical of school administrators at ALL LEVELS. It is not just the principals at the high school level downplaying discipline issues. Starting at elementary, and all the way through, school administrators are trying to hide, downplay, sweep under the rug, etc. most discipline issues. They are afraid of these disciplinary actions, referrals, threats, problems…etc. making them look bad. Then, if they (principals/school admin.) look bad, it will make our district (superintendent) look bad, and that just can’t happen. It usually takes a child either getting hurt or threatened, to get the attention. That usually only occurs if the parent of so called child calls the school and demands action to be taken. Even then it seems that it takes an act of congress to get a child removed from a class (suspension or other alternative programs). All of the 2nd, 3rd,…10th chances are going to either get another student, teacher, or other person attending the school, hurt very bad or at worst dead. Take action where action is due. Let the teachers teach the children that want to learn without being punching bags, teething rings, or police(persons). Put the students that are a threat or danger in a program that is suitable for them and is administered by teachers/employees trained for so called situations. These programs shouldn’t take 6 months to get into and 29 steps, infractions, complaints, threats for action to be taken. Nip the problem in the bud at the elementary level, so it does not escalate to a bigger and more severe in the upper grades, or worse, in society.

  7. “What Inweekly has learned from parents is the student had the gun in class and a note that he intended to shoot up the campus on Friday”. Are your sources typically parents who learn things from their kids who are sharing rumors? This is just as bad as the kids spreading things.

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