Flagler County schools, sheriff’s office seeing uptick in threat arrests

Three students have been charged since August

PALM COAST, Fla. – A middle school student is facing charges, accused of threatening to shoot another student, according to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office Tuesday.

The office said it’s just the most recent threat charge to come out of this middle school.

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Since August, the officer has reported Buddy Taylor Middle School has had three students charged in separate occurrences for making school-related threats and that’s on top of other arrests from students making threats outside of school this year.

“This has to stop,” said Sheriff Rick Staly in the release sent out after deputies say a student threatened to shoot another student while riding the bus home last week.

Staly is now urging parents to talk with their children about the consequences that come with these threats.

“I think that it does come in spurts. I don’t think one has to do with another,” said Kim Burroughs, the Chief of the office’s Investigative Services.

Burrough’s is helping to find solutions to put an end to this.

“The S.R.D. is pairing up with the school and they’re actually doing PowerPoints and speaking with the kids during their free time,” she said.

Burroughs said most of the threats stemmed from altercations and the students didn’t have other coping mechanisms.

“Things escalate very, very quick from a simple altercation to weapons or I’m going to bring my dad in,” she said.

An uptick in threats is something Volusia County has dealt with in the past.

“If a threat was sent over the internet or however that threat was sent, if we were to investigate it and discover who said it, we charge them with disruption of school which is a felony,” said Volusia Sheriff Mike Chitwood.

Chitwood said Volusia schools saw a slew of threats and arrests after the mass school shooting in Parkland in 2018. The office started going through the prosecutor’s office to charge the students’ families excessive user fees.

“If the threat was about a bomb in the school and I had to deploy extra resources we wanted to have the family pay for those resources that their kid called out,” the Sheriff said.

Chitwood said since implementing these tactics, a handful of students have had to pay those fees but he thinks the strongest one has been the zero tolerance in teaching the other students a lesson.

About the Author:

Molly joined News 6 at the start of 2021, returning home to Central Florida.