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Ocala
Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Fifth-grader suspended after sheriff’s deputy investigates possible gang sign in video

The school resource officer at an Ocala elementary school was called into action last week when it appeared as if a male fifth-grader had flashed a gang sign during the filming of a video for an upcoming ceremony.

The school resource officer at Shady Hill Elementary School, located at 5959 S Magnolia Ave., looked at the video, which is to be shown this coming Thursday at the fifth-grade graduation ceremony. He said the student flashed what appeared to be one of the Bloods’ gang signs.

The resource officer, who is a Marion County sheriff’s deputy, spoke with the staff member who reported the incident. She said they were able to edit the student out of the video and it wouldn’t be shown. But a screenshot was saved so the staff member could speak with the student, the report says.

The student said he is not in a gang and didn’t mean for it to be a gang sign. He said he knows about gang signs because his mother used to be a sheriff’s deputy. And the 10-year-old promised to never do it again, a sheriff’s office report says.

The student was coded out as inappropriate behavior and receive a one-day in-school suspension. The deputy completed a warning for suspected gang activity form and had the student and his mother sign it. And he emailed a copy to the sheriff’s Juvenile Unit and the Crisis Intervention Specialists Unit.