Facebook ‘chat’ leads to police visit, suspension for Manatee High student

BRADENTON -- A Manatee High School student’s Facebook chat message to a fellow student saying he was going to bring a weapon to school led to an interview with detectives Thursday.

No charges were filed against the 16-year-old, but he was suspended from school, said Deputy Chief Jeffrey Lewis, of the Bradenton Police Department.

“It boils down to an argument on Facebook,” Lewis said.

The incident began when a former girlfriend of the juvenile suspect posted a picture of him on Facebook, leading to an exchange of words between she and the suspect’s sister, Lewis said.

“The girlfriend got mad and inferred he was not man enough to do something about it and he said he was man enough and he made an instant message text to the ex-girlfriend that he was going to bring a weapon to school,“ Lewis said. “Apparently, the ex-girlfriend’s parents read the message and contacted the school.”

The school resource officer contacted the police department.

The male student, who later told officers that he let his emotions get the better of him, was taken to police headquarters in downtown Bradenton and the former girlfriend was interviewed at school, Lewis said.

“The parents of the girl were concerned after reading the message,” Lewis said. “Nothing happened on campus. The school resource officer had him isolated first thing in the morning.”

Margi Nanney, a spokesperson for the School District of Manatee County, confirmed the incident began on a social media website.

“Nothing happened on campus,” Nanney said.

The Facebook page was no longer available, so detectives could not develop enough probable cause to charge the youth, Lewis said.

“We take any information regarding school safety very seriously,” Lewis said. “In this case, no charges were filed, the student was suspended from school and the case is closed.”

Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 748-0411, ext. 6686.