SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - A 12-year-old girl is accused of making a hoax online threat about shooting up three Central Florida schools Wednesday evening, according to the Seminole County Sheriff's Office.
The girl, a South Seminole Middle School student, used her cellphone to post a threat of shootings and explosives at Casselberry Elementary School, South Seminole Middle School and Sterling Park Elementary School, a news release said.
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According to an affidavit, the girl created an Instagram account with the username "bombsbombsbomns9" and made posts stating, “I wanna see the blood, and the dead bodies of everyone there.” An image posted to the account featured an assault rifle surrounded by bullets, the report said.
Casselberry Police Chief Larry D. Krantz said his investigators used hi-tech techniques to track down the person.
He said they contacted Instagram, which gave them the IP address where the post came from. He said the address was traced to a T-Mobile phone.
Krantz said T-Mobile provided investigators with the phone number associated with the IP address, as well as a physical address from which the phone was pinged.
He said the girl was arrested on a charge of threatening to discharge a destructive device. The student did not have any weapons or bomb-making materials, according to authorities.
Krantz said the girl was upset about negative comments her classmates were making about the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Feb. 14, so she posted the social media threat to prove a point.
The girl has no past disciplinary issues or history with law enforcement agencies and she was remorseful about what she did, officials said.
"In light of the recent tragic events, I am saddened a 12-year-old used social media to make threats against our students, which caused parents to worry for the safety of their children. We take these threats very seriously and will work with the Seminole County School Board and the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office to diligently investigate any threat or concern effecting the safety of our students and community," Krantz said. "Let me be clear. Their actions have serious consequences and will result in their arrest."
Deputies from the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office and officers from the Casselberry Police Department searched all three schools and found nothing suspicious.
Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma said law enforcement agencies will continue to take threats seriously.
“Our children’s safety is our highest priority, and anyone looking to create a climate of fear or school disruption will be located and arrested,” Lemma said.
Seminole County Public Schools Superintendent Walt Griffin agreed that any student who makes a hoax threat will face disciplinary action.
"These types of threats are no laughing matter. Our district has zero tolerance for this kind of behavior and any student making such claims will faces severe consequences, such as possible expulsion," Griffin said.
During a news conference Thursday afternoon, officials discussed school safety measures and the importance of parents monitoring what their children do online.
Lemma said that, while hoax threats have made headlines recently, there have only been two arrests in Seminole County this academic year related to incidents of that nature.
The second arrest came after a boy at Jackson Heights Middle School yelled a shooting threat during his gym class, authorities said.
Lemma and Griffin noted that every school in Seminole County has a resource officer on campus and that officials plan to add an additional officer at Lake Mary High School, Lake Howell High School, Hagerty High School and Winter Springs High School.
“I feel like we’re doing everything we need to do in terms of armed personnel being on campus," Griffin said.
Neither official thought that arming teachers would be a necessary step to take in Seminole County.
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