Over the past week, the media has been fixated on Saturday’s “March for our Lives,” in which thousands protested for school safety and gun control, led by the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 were killed in the Valentine’s Day shooting.
This week, however, several Douglas students were arrested – but the reason why did not get much media attention. There’s a reason for that.
On Tuesday, two students were arrested after they were caught bringing weapons to school, including Jordan Salter (pictured above). Unlike mass shooter Nikolas Cruz, however, these two students brought knives to the school, which is likely why the situations received little national attention. With the protests and march focusing singularly on guns, incidents with knives do not fit the narrative.
A third student was hospitalized this week for mental observation after he posted threats against another Douglas student online. While his threats appeared to involve a gun, it was discovered that the “weapon” was actually a BB gun. There has been much discussion from gun rights supporters that mental health issues should be a primary concern. However, it’s an inconvenient subject for gun control supporters, so media coverage on the incident was muted outside of local news coverage.
Tuesday’s school day began with the arrest of Jordan Salter, 18, after a conflict in the cafeteria. She poured cereal on another student’s head after he asked Salter’s friend a sexually offensive question. When the boy leaned in close to Salter’s face, she pulled a 2-inch black knife from her bra, opened it and displayed it, according to a report from the Broward Sheriff’s Office.
The next arrest came in the afternoon when school authorities learned that Gavin Stricker, 16, had brandished a knife on a bus Monday. He was called into the school’s office and a 9-inch knife was found in his backpack, according to a juvenile arrest report.
The third troubling event developed after screenshots of a sophomore’s Snapchat social media account circulated around campus. It showed the boy posing with a gun in his waistband along with images of bullets. The photos were captioned with “catch me out here n—-” and one referenced a student named Josh, the sheriff’s office said.
The student, who was hospitalized for a mental-health evaluation, told a detective that the firearm in the photo was a BB gun and the bullets belonged to his father, according to a sheriff’s office report.
He faces a misdemeanor charge for disrupting school with the social media threat. His hospitalization, under the state’s Baker Act, was prompted by self-inflicted wounds on his left arm, the report said.
The same student used the name “NickCruz” — an ominous nod toward the former student who has admitted to last month’s shooting spree — as his moniker for the online game Fortnite, according to the report. After he successfully clears a mental-health evaluation, the student will be taken to juvenile hall, the sheriff’s office said.
The incidents came following a disturbing incident, in which Zachary Cruz, the brother of Nikolas Cruz, was arrested for hanging around outside the school after being warned to stay away.
Zachary Cruz, branded a threat by prosecutors, is jailed on a $500,000 bond. Since his arrest Monday, he has been taken to a hospital for involuntary psychiatric treatment, the sheriff’s office said.
Meanwhile, Amanda Stricker, mother of the boy who had a knife in his backpack, fought back tears as she explained that his sister was in one of the classrooms that got shot up during Cruz’s deadly rampage.
She said school authorities told her that her son admitted to carrying the knife “for protection.”
“I think he was as scared as the rest of us were,” Amanda Stricker said. “We thought he was doing OK, and I think he wasn’t doing as well as we thought he was.”
Broward schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said Stoneman Douglas has been rocked to its core and every new development takes on “a whole different level of awareness.”
“When a school gets impacted by an event like this, it changes the school,” he said. “We’ll see what the impacts are over time. People are still affected. Kids are grieving and concerned. They have fears. We need to continue to be sensitive to that at the same time we try to function in as normal a sense as we can, recognizing this is not a normal state we’re in and extra vigilance is required. We’ll continue to do what we can to support the community.”
In light of Zachary Cruz’s unlawful entry onto school grounds, district staff are reviewing security protocols, Runcie said.
Security is beefed up during the school day, he said, but not after school is dismissed. The district may expand heightened security until 6 p.m., he said, so that students participating in after-school activities are protected.
It should be noted that it appears in both knife incidents, the students were concerned about personal safety, obviously unsure that anyone would be there to protect them.