Two Indian Trails Middle School students, both 13, face a felony charge of making a false threat of a school shooting targeting their school.
The two students were arrested Thursday. According to their arrest reports, the two students, both boys, were on an after-school activity bus on Wednesday when they started talking about carrying out a school shooting in front of a 14-year-old girl.
“It’s not going to be today, but at the formal,” one of the students allegedly said, in comments reported to deputies by the girl. “There were going to be a lot more people in one spot,” the boy said, advising the girl to hide and adding: “I’m not going to get killed, and I will be fine.” The students allegedly said they would shoot students and faculty.
One of the two boys who allegedly made the threats spoke with deputies and said the other boy told him to stay on the 200 side of the building–apparently referring to the configuration of buildings at Indian Trails–and telling him that if he hears loud noises, he should hide. He said the other boy told him he might pull the fire alarm to get people in the hallway–the tactic Nikolas Cruz used in Parkland last February, when he confessed to murdering 14 students and three faculty members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The boy also kept telling him not to come to school the next day.
The other student declined to provide a statement.
The two students’ threats reportedly so upset the girl that she cried, and later reported the exchange. It’s not clear if she did so the same day or the following day. Indian Trails dean Justin Cronk then reported the incident to the school resource deputy. The school initially suspended one of the two students. That student and his parents were summoned back to school for an interview with deputies, who learned that the student who’d been suspended did not have access to firearms at home, only a crossbow.
The other student, according to his arrest report, downplayed his role in the conversation, saying “he felt it was a joke.”
“We don’t like making these arrests but all threats will be taken seriously.”
Both arrested students were processed at the county jail before being turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice.
It was the third incident in the last five school days resulting in charges or arrests involving a total of five students. On Dec. 7, a Buddy Taylor Middle School student, 14, was arrested for bringing a loaded handgun to school. On Tuesday, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office filed charges against two white Flagler Palm Coast High School students, both 16, who made violent, racist, written threats about killing their teacher, who is black.
The string of incidents took place just as the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission was concluding its work Thursday with a set of recommendations about improving safety in schools. The governor convened the commission in the wake of the Parkland school massacre last February.
In Flagler, a cluster of false threats and incidents led to arrests last year, but the current school year had been unfolding more quietly until the past week.
“Threatening to bring guns on campus or to shoot anyone is no joking matter and has again led to the arrest of two students,” Sheriff Rick Staly was quoted as saying in a release his office issued on the incident Thursday evening. “The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office has a zero tolerance policy on school threats. We don’t like making these arrests but all threats will be taken seriously and thoroughly investigated and, where appropriate, arrests or charges will be made. Parents – talk to your children. Just like being in an airport or on a plane, make sure your children know what is appropriate language and behavior and what is not. Get involved in what they are doing online, too. This behavior must stop and only you can stop it by talking to your kids and knowing what they are doing and feeling.”