Flagler middle schooler arrested in midst of nationwide school threat hoax

13-year-old Indian Trails Middle School student released, in parents’ custody, deputies say

Generic image of police lights. (pixabay)

FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – A Flagler County middle school student was arrested Friday in connection with creating a TikTok account threatening a school shooting, according to deputies.

The 13-year-old, who attends Indian Trails Middle School, is facing a false report of use of firearms in a violent manner charge, according to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office.

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This comes a day after a school threat hoax circulated around social media nationwide, prompting educators to increase security in schools on Friday.

Flagler deputies were notified of the TikTok trend Thursday, which alluded to school threats being acted upon across the country the following day, and their homeland security team began monitoring multiple social media accounts.

An arrest report shows deputies were informed about a teen with an Instagram username of “itms_school_shooting” sending friend requests to several Indian Trails Middle School students.

The person who reported this to investigators said the teen running the account posted statements like, “Can’t wait for tomorrow,” and after the reporting party said the poster can’t joke about that, ‘I’m not joking ... wait for tomorrow,’” according to the report.

The account owner changed the username of the account to “itms_school_food” around 10 p.m. Thursday.

Further investigation led deputies to identify and arrest the 13-year-old, who claimed he was “just joking” when he created the account.

The teen was transported to the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility and since he didn’t meet the DJJ’s point system, was released to the custody of his parents.

“This has to stop! Kids – making threats of violence will only get you arrested,” Sheriff Rick Staly said in a release. “Parents – talk to your children – now! Words have consequences. And saying it’s a joke is not an alibi. We have zero tolerance for making threats and you will be arrested! I commend the reporter for doing the right thing and notifying us of the TikTok comments. I only wish DJJ would take these criminal acts more seriously so the system has teeth and consequences. As we have seen, catch and release does not work.”

About the Author:

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.