PEMBROKE PINES (CBSMiami) – A wooden dresser with words of hate and racial slurs was found in a courtyard at Flanagan High School in Pembroke Pines.
School was not in session at the time. The school was placed on lock down.READ MORE: ‘This Is Not Acceptable’: North Miami Councilwoman Upset Over Images Of Border Patrol Agents With Whips Chasing Down Haitian Migrants
Police swept the school and surrounding grounds to see if there were any other unpleasant surprises.
The dresser had several messages written on it, including “Open Me”, “Surprise Inside”, and on the top it reads “I hate (racial slur)” followed by a swastika.
“It’s degrading because it refers to race. I don’t know why they put a nazi sign on the side. I don’t understand it. I thought we had passed through all that,” said student Michael Henna Jr.
School officials immediately started moving students out of the area of the building to the bleachers on the ball fields and sent out robocalls to all the parents. Arriving students were sent home. Students who were not picked up or walked home, were sent to the nearby Walter C. Young Middle School to wait for rides home.
“Teachers started yelling at me to leave school,” said Karina Zodrafakis, “And I heard what happened and I was scared.”
Some students ran for it.
“It was rough. A lot of police, a lot of people jumping fences,” said student Sebastian Espinosa.READ MORE: Florida Revised COVID-19 School Rule Short Circuits Legal Challenge By Five School Districts
But many stayed calm and waited for an adult to come get them
The piece of furniture was discovered in the middle of a school courtyard with several picnic benches surrounding it in a circle.
The school sent out the following message to let parents and students alike know what was going on.
“Good morning parents:
Please be advised that as a precaution we have evacuated our campus due to the presence of a suspicious package. All staff and students are safe. Law enforcement is working with us to ensure the campus is safe and secure.”
Just before 9:30 a.m. the police department’s bomb squad used a robot to probe the chest of drawers and what it may contain. At one point the robot tipped the dresser backwards. It broke at its base as it tumbled over, revealing a cinder block in the bottom drawer.
Members of the bomb squad then carefully dismantled the chest to find additional bricks and papers in the remaining drawers.
The all clear was given around 10:30 a.m. and teachers and faculty were allowed into the school.
Late Wednesday, police said there was surveillance showing three individuals dragging the dresser in a cart to the courtyard. Police said they are trying to identify the three who will face prosecution. They sauid it’s too early to classify the incident as a hate crime.
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