School reaction to bomb plot: Shock, fear and relief | News
Tampa, Florida - Freedom High is not free from shock or fright. Although the arrest of former student Jared Cano does bring some relief, for parents the situation is still a nightmare.
"Very scary, that a child could be so plotting and angry and violent," said Vicki Vawter, whose son will be a junior at Freedom.
Cano was expelled in March of 2010 for an off-campus incident so serious that officials didn't want him back on campus. And police say some of the school administrators were his intended targets for next week's planned bombing.
Principal Chris Farkas says he and his staff members shared similar emotions. "Their first reaction was shock; you hear about things nationally, but to have it here in your own backyard-shock is one of your first things. And there's a little bit of fear that goes along with that," said Farkas at a Wednesday afternoon news conference.
Cano's Facebook page contains photos of him drinking and he writes "I smoke weed all day".
Students 10 News spoke with remember seeing Cano at school, but they didn't know him well. And while they've experienced bomb threats at the school before, they say the bomb-making supplies police found at Cano's home make this one seem much more real.
"We get bomb threats," says Freedom Junior Stephanie Ortiz. "But I went online and checked and he was actually going to do it--a more serious call, so I was a little scared I guess."
2,100 students and 200 staff members are expected at Freedom High on Tuesday for the first day of school. While police believe Cano was acting alone, there will be extra security on campus and a crisis team if necessary.
But despite this disturbing bomb plot, Farkas expects kids to show up and be ready to learn in a safe environment. "I do feel it's a safe school to be at and the reason is-community involvement."
And Farkas credits that community involvement for helping avert violence at the school, because an anonymous tipster led to Cano's arrest.