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UPDATE: Student makes video depicting murder of another student, school suggests no wrongdoing

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

Editor’s Note: This is a developing story. It is important to note, Citizens Defending Freedom reached out to the Lakeland Police Department numerous times since Thursday evening in an attempt to confirm the reports mentioned in this story, but the department has refused to respond to requests for comment. Additionally, calls were made to the school to attempt to verify the accuracy of the allegations, but representatives from Citizens Defending Freedom were hung up on by school officials. Additionally, a representative from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office referred all questions about the reported incident to the Lakeland Police Department.

LAKELAND, Fla. — A concerned mother was reportedly told by local law enforcement officials on Thursday that a Lakeland 5th grader was arrested after the mom filed complaints about the 5th grader posting a video on TikTok, which depicted the dramatized killing of her daughter, the mom said.

To make matters worse, the mother says she was told she was no longer welcome at the school by the school resource officer after reporting the incident to school officials.

According to the victim’s mother, the ugly scene unfolded at Rosabelle W. Blake Academy in Lakeland, which is part of the Polk County School District. Trisha Brown, who is the mother of the victim, a white 11-year-old girl, says she brought the video to the attention of school administrators on Monday.

According to Brown, Blake Academy refused to take action. As a result, Brown reportedly pulled her daughter out of the school on Tuesday after confirming with Blake Academy that the aggressor student, a black 5th grade female who made the video, had not faced any disciplinary action and was in class that day, Brown says.

After two more days of the school shrugging off the incident, Brown says she returned to the school, this time bringing with her a May 31 court date from the Polk County Court showing that she had a hearing to gain a protective order against the student who made the video.

After reporting the incident to the school resource officer, Brown says she left the property. Shortly after she left, the school resource officer reportedly called her and told her she was not welcome to return to the school.

Frustrated, Brown turned to Citizens Defending Freedom, a non-profit organization, which helps empower parents and Americans who feel like there is nowhere else to turn when their rights are violated. Representatives from Citizens Defending Freedom recommended for her to report the incident to law enforcement and escalate the report to the Florida Department of Education which fortunately, Brown was reportedly already in the process of doing. When Polk County School District's Office of Safe Schools was contacted, no one was available to take her complaint.

After bringing the case to the attention of the Florida Department of Education in Tallahassee on Thursday, Brown says she and a friend from church had a meeting with a Deputy Sheriff-Lieutenant from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Safe Schools Guardian, who reportedly told them that the aggressor had been arrested. Representatives from Citizens Defending Freedom interviewed Brown’s friend, who asked not to be named, and that individual confirmed Brown’s story that both law enforcement officers in the room told Brown that the student who made the video had been arrested by the Lakeland Police Department.

However, on Friday, the Polk County School District released a statement saying that no arrest had taken place. A representative from Citizens Defending Freedom spoke with the deputies from Polk County Sheriff’s Office again on Friday who reportedly remained adamant that charges had been filed against the aggressor.

“My daughter has been subjected to violent threats from another student for more than a week, and Blake Academy refused to take any action at all,” said Brown. “The manner in which the school handled this incident is totally unacceptable, and the fact that I had to spend the past week fighting for my daughter’s safety tells me that there is something horribly wrong going on inside the Polk County School District. This is just the beginning of this battle. I will do everything in my power to ensure that justice is served to the girl who heinously threatened my daughter’s life.”

According to representatives from Citizens Defending Freedom, this isn’t the only Polk County School with leaders making questionable decisions. Citizens Defending Freedom has been battling to have violent and pornographic books removed from schools across Florida.

One of these books is a 21 book graphic novel series titled Assassination Classroom, where students visibly gun down their teacher in the classroom. After Citizens Defending Freedom challenged the books at Mulberry High School in Polk County, a 12-person panel at the school voted 11-1 to keep the Assassination Classroom series in the school library. The vice principal of the school determined the books were appropriate for 6th-8th grade students, while the rest of the 12-person panel suggested they were more suitable for older, 9th-12th grade students.

Robert Goodman, the Executive Director for the Polk County chapter of Citizens Defending Freedom said, "The panel stated that the sex scenes were inappropriate and unnecessary, and that the profanity, sexual nature, and violence of the books were all offensive elements. Regardless, the committee voted 11-1 to keep the books in circulation."

“It certainly seems like the leaders within this school district have a history of refusing to take action, and have abdicated their duty to listen to parents and protect students,” said James Judge, the national spokesman for Citizens Defending Freedom. “But whether they are threats of violence like this one, or providing students with pornographic and violent materials in libraries, schools increasingly seem interested in working against parents. Rather, it seems school officials believe they should not be accountable to parents at all. This is another reason why Citizens Defending Freedom exists, and we’re proud of our Florida team who helped this mother in need.”

NOTE: This is still a developing story. As of 5:49 p.m. EST on Friday May 19, 2023, neither the Lakeland Police Department or Blake Academy, have responded to requests for comment made by Citizens Defending Freedom.

Founded in 2021, Citizens Defending Freedom is a non-profit organization that strategically employs county-level chapters across America to help citizens defend their faith and freedom, all while fighting for transparency in local government. Currently, Citizens Defending Freedom has official chapters in Florida, Georgia and Texas. The group is rapidly expanding its footprint, and expects to grow into one of America’s largest political nonprofits. Click here to learn more about Citizens Defending Freedom.

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