BARTOW, Fla. -- The report of a firearm that locked down four schools on Tuesday was a hoax and the Bartow High School student suspected of being behind it is in custody.
About 12:50 p.m. school resource officers with the Bartow Police Department were notified of a possible security threat on campus.
Additional support from our patrol section was immediately summoned and the Safe Schools Division of the Polk County Sheriff's Office was notified, in an abundance of caution.
Initial reports said there was a male high school student was seen carrying a firearm in a gym style bag, according to Bartow police. Based upon this information, Bartow High was placed on lockdown and officers began a coordinated deployment throughout the school, with the assistance of the sheriff's office.
Bartow detectives then interviewed the 17-year-old senior who reported the incident, information developed that this story was a hoax. Detectives learned that the student had concocted the story and the student admitted that a firearm was never observed.
After clearing the school of any threat, students were released around 2:30 p.m.
Bartow police report that the reporting student was taken into custody for an involuntary mental evaluation pursuant to the Baker Act. The student might face charges of disruption of a school and false reporting of the incident.
The lockdown also involved Bartow IB, Bartow Middle and Summerlin Middle School around 3 p.m. Tuesday.