A Florida teacher has been placed on administrative leave after he allegedly bragged to his students that he would "be the best school shooter." Students at Lakeland Senior High School had just returned to class from a lockdown drill when their math teacher, 51-year-old Keith Cook, told them how he would use his knowledge of the drill to inflict mass carnage at the school.
Cook suggested that he would plant improvised explosive devices throughout the school and fill them with nails to create shrapnel. He told his students he would then fire off a few shots, forcing everybody to hide in classrooms throughout the building. Once everybody was in place, he would simply press a button and "boom, everyone would die."
Deputies searched his home and his car but found no weapons or materials needed to make explosives. Cook, a former Marine, told investigators that his comments were nothing more than a joke. He was not arrested or charged with a crime but was placed under a risk protection order.
"If we conduct an investigation and we find the person is dangerous to themselves or someone else, i.e., with a firearm, we can petition the court we can't unilaterally do this and say, 'Hey, we need a timeout.' The court can give us a temporary risk protection order," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told WTVT-TV.
Polk County School District Superintendent Jacqueline M. Byrd says the district is taking the case seriously and is cooperating with law enforcement.
"Every day, Polk County Public Schools is entrusted with the lives of more than 105,000 precious children. As superintendent, I will do everything I can to protect every single one of them," Byrd said in a statement. "Parents and students should be assured that we take any potential threat against our students and schools seriously. Student safety is and always will be paramount within our school district."