MANATEE — The exact tally was not available yet, but a large number of Bayshore High School students stayed home on Monday after the warning of a Valentine’s Day shoot-out at the school was scribbled on a stall door in a girls’ bathroom last week.
But the students who did show up found a “very quiet, very upbeat day,” without a trace of any incident, said Manatee County School District spokeswoman Margi Nanney, who was part of a contingent of school district and law enforcement officials who went to the school.
Four additional deputies were on hand, along with schools Superintendent Tim McGonegal.
The additional deputies also drove through the neighborhoods around the school, looking for the suspect in Thursday’s near sexual assault of 12-year-old girl in the 5500 block of 26th Street West.
That suspect was caught on surveillance footage shot Bayshore High, which is a short walk from the crime scene.
The bathroom scrawl and the assault appear to be separate incidents other than they both involve Bayshore High.
Despite the added law enforcement presence, which school officials had promised parents, attendance was down.
“I think we have quite a few students absent,” Nanney said. “The students who are here are going to and from class as usual and there is a visual presence of law enforcement.”
Although the writer of the threat at the school has not been discovered, the school was able to identify a group of students who may have added fuel to the fire by using social media Internet sites to spread rumors, said Bayshore High principal David Underhill.