Thousands signed their names to support a petition calling for the removal of a judge they say unjustly threw out the case of a potential school shooter.

The petition on Change.org asks for Judge Gloria R. Walker of the Eighth Judicial Circuit, whose been in her position since January of this year. It was made Sunday by a Baker County High School parent after a 15-year-old’s second degree felony charges were dismissed. The petition has more than 1,700 of its 2,500 goal of signatures as of Tuesday evening.

The student is accused of planning a mass murder after sharing his six-page “School Shooting Plan” with a peer in September, according to the Associated Press. The student was arrested and charged as an adult.

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, which expanded the authority of school officials and law enforcement to act against campus safety threats, makes it a crime when someone "makes, posts, or transmits" a threat of mass shooting "in any manner that would allow another person to view the threat." The law was passed after a gunman killed 17 people at the Parkland high school Feb. 14, 2018.

Judge Gloria R. Walker

Judge Gloria R. Walker

The student was released from custody after Walker said prosecutors couldn’t prove the notebook to be “transmitted,” like the law says, according to AP. 

The Eighth Judicial Circuit and Walker declined to comment.

Tony Harris, the parent who created the petition, said his freshman daughter at the high school was “traumatized” by the threat. He fears for the safety of his child and others at the high school.

He hopes the decision can be overturned higher up in the state legislature as well as prevent Walker from making a decision like this again.

“Parents think she endangered our children by not following through with [the case],” Harris said. “They think she’s sending a bad message to get away with it”

In the petition, Harris called for the Florida State Senate, the Florida State House, Florida State Senator Rob Bradley and Florida State Rep. Chuck Brannan to remove the judge. None of the aforementioned responded in time for comment.

He doesn’t plan on taking further action after the petition but hopes the decision will be rectified after officials see how many people support the cause.

“I’m not an activist,” Harris said. “But sometimes things have to be done and this was a way to bring attention to the cause.”  

 

Dana Cassidy is an 19-year-old UF journalism sophomore and crime reporter at The Independent Florida Alligator. Outside of writing she loves fitness, film analysis, Mad Men, bad reality TV and excessive amounts of coffee.