PALM COAST, Fla. – Two 16-year-old Flagler Palm Coast High School students face charges on allegations that they threatened to harm a teacher.
The Flagler County Sheriff's Office said school resource deputies were informed Monday about the threat. Officials said a boy and girl used very racist language on their school-issued computers as they discussed harming the teacher.
“I was appalled at the language these students were using and the threats made toward this teacher," Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said. “These racial tones have no place in our community. The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office has a zero-tolerance policy on school threats. All threats will be taken seriously and thoroughly investigated and appropriate charges will be made, but often these situations take time to investigate and review the evidence before determining a charge or making an arrest."
Both students claimed the comments were inappropriate jokes, according to Flagler County sheriff's officials.
"It is not acceptable to claim you were ‘joking around’ when caught or to threaten anyone," Staly said.
Authorities interviewed the teacher Tuesday, and she said she wanted to press charges to the fullest extent of the law, according to deputies.
Detectives determined that the students made intentional and unlawful threats to harm the teacher and created a well-founded fear that violence was possible, the Sheriff's Office said. The case was forwarded to the 7th Circuit State Attorney’s Office on Wednesday with students expected to be charged with assault with an enhancement as a hate crime.
“More serious felony charges were explored, but the facts of this case did not meet the required elements for a felony charge,” Flalger County sheriff's Chief Steve Brandt said.
Any school discipline for the students will be determined by school officials.