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Matanzas High Student, 16, Arrested Over School-Shooting Threat on Snapchat and Blames Bullying

| February 20, 2019

matanzas school threats

Not what the Matznas Pirates like to see. (© FlaglerLive)

At just about the same time that Superintendent Jim Tager was updating the Flagler County School Board on the district’s security measures Tuesday afternoon, yet another student–the third in eight days–was arrested and slapped with a felony charge for making threats to shoot up a school, this time on Snapchat. As in a previous incident in the past eight days, the girl said she’d been bullied by others.

The 16-year-old girl attends Matanzas High School. Judging from past cases, she is likely to be expelled but will be able to continue her schooling through home instruction.

A student who told authorities he or she wished to remain anonymous brought the Snapchat message to the attention of Bob Sawyer, one of three deans at Matanzas, who referred the case to Flagler Sheriff’s deputy Nicholas Champion, one of two school resource deputies at Matanzas. (Each high school has two). The other is John Landi.

“The post was shown to me and it’s a ‘selfie’ of a student,” Champion reported in the student’s arrest report, naming the student, “”with a common filter used on
Snapchat used to alter minor facial images. There was a caption attached to the picture under her face stating ‘Stupid ass bitches know I’ll shot them in the fucking head with a 12 gauge shot gun.'”

What followed has become painfully routine: the student was pulled out of class, her mother was contacted, her mother gave authorities permission to interview the girl, who denied posting the image. She said she’d posted a similar picture but with a different caption. Using her phone she showed the deputy the item she’d posted but later appears to have said or conceded to something more incriminating. That part of the report is censored, as self-incriminating statements usually are in sheriff’s reports.

The girl went on to say that “she has been having problems with two girls who have  been messing with her for the past three years.” She spoke of a group of some two dozen people who have access to what she referred to as the “private story.” She admitted to having guns at her house but did not know what kind of guns and said the weapons are locked in a safe registered to her father.

She was then taken to the Flagler County jail for booking, but not to stay there. Students are typically returned to the custody of their parents based on decisions by the Department of Juvenile Justice.  But the students then enter the juvenile justice system, with court appearances on one hand and disciplinary hearings on the other, at the school district.

Again, district and sheriff’s authorities stressed the importance of parents speaking with their children about being more careful about what they say and do involving threats and social media.

Since December, at least 10 students in Flagler’s elementary, middle and high schools have faced arrests, most of them on felony charges, over allegations of threats or weapon possession. Since January, students age 11, 13 and 14 at Rymfire Elementary, Buddy Taylor Middle and Indian Trails Middle have been arrested.

The Flagler Tiger Bay Club is hosting a free and open-to-the-public school safety panel at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Palm Coast Community Center. The panel features Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly, Superintendent Jim Tager, Earl Johnson, Executive Director Leadership Development for Flagler County Schools, and Randy Stroud, Director, Domestic and Homeland Security for the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office.

17 Responses for “Matanzas High Student, 16, Arrested Over School-Shooting Threat on Snapchat and Blames Bullying”

  1. Coyote says:

    “A student who told authorities he or she wished to remain anonymous brought the Snapchat message to the attention of Bob Sawyer” … ???

    Why was it necessary for a student to report this?

    Aren’t we spending thousands of (taxpayer) dollars a year on some commercial organization which is supposed to be monitoring social media sites for this activity? Where were they? Or is it just another flimflam organization that makes the administration LOOK like they’re doing something?

  2. Aiden says:

    Kick the bullies out too. Enough. Was it one of the bullies that reported it?
    Yes this girl should be expelled but the bullies should too.

  3. Flagler County Schools zero tolerance for bullying a joke says:

    It seems the common issue with these kids making threats is the bullying. Flagler County claims to have Zero Tolerance yet nothing seems to be done about bullying. Kids are constantly harrassing and intimidating other kids in school, online, over text and social media yet no consequences, its usually swept under the rug and said its just kids being kids until one bullied kid has enough and makes a threat then that kid has a consequence and a record because you know they havent been bullied enough. Smh. Maybe the County needs to actually enforce the Zero Tolerance and give bullies consequences for once.

  4. Concerned Citizen says:

    Kids seem to have no filters these days. They engage their mouths before their brains and it’s landing them in all sorts of trouble.

    To all you teens out there. You need to seriously consider what you say before you say it. Yes there is freedom of speech. However there are consequenses for your actions. Crying bullying won’t absolve you of all that.

    If you are being bullied then you need to reach out to your parents or school officials for help.

    From what I’m seeing though it’s mostly entitled and spoiled kids with way to much access to social media. You go and get mad then think it’s acceptable to make threats. Time to grow up a bit and realize what you’re doing is wong. Before you catch that felony charge.

  5. FPC Granny says:

    My heart does go out to “some” of these kids….remember when you were younger and your Mother washed out your mouth because she heard you using “foul langue”? With all the spying eyes in PC…drones, Social Sentenial, and coming soon to a stoplight/corner near you….cameras a child has no means to say anything anymore!! No wonder this generation is a bunch of snowflakes!! I feel PC needs to chill down a bit. Not every child has bad intentions. Kids today, their stomachs are knots do to peers, testing just about every day, homework/projects, BULLIES and then add on “watch” what you say and how you say it!! FELONY!! I don’t feel it is right to destroy a “child’s life” no less from age of 11 years old on up over making “stupid statements”!! I think we have gotten so hypersensitive over kids using words NOT any action (was the home checked for availability of a firearm? cause it is pretty tuff to get a gun at 11) I know we all want to be safe….me too…BUT 10 kids charged since December!! Seems unrealistic!! Think we have “TRUE THUGS” walking our streets to chase after. But they are a bit harder to catch!! I feel we need to do some “through” checking into the child and his life before we slap FENOLY charges and mess up their entire life!! JMO

  6. Flagler raised says:

    I think some should be charged if they had the means and capability to carry out threat, but FCSO has not demonstrated this in all the cases. If the kids get good lawyer they get charges dismissed and turn around and sue FCSO and deputies who arrested them. Just saying Sheriff’s policy seems to hardcore making felons out of kids who made a stupid decision.

  7. Judy06712 says:

    FPC Granny, I so agree with you. It is so sad to read what people say on the internet. They insult you for no good cause and say the most terrible things. And people think it is ok and more say the same terrible things without anyone thinking why is this happening, no manners and no respect for the other person. From what I read about schooling, I feel real bad for children today. They are basically locked in the schools. Are they schools or jail now??? I guess it is how you want to think about their safety. I guess they must learn that it is ok to say “I hope you get hit by a bus?” which would be acceptable. We need to do better for them.

  8. Brian says:

    How do these CHILDREN manage to have these expensive phones and devices? Obviously, parents are buying them – lay out some ground rules before handing them out to the little darlings. Parenting 101.

  9. Agkistrodon says:

    FPC Granny, they did their checking “..BAsed on the students PAST, she will probably be EXPELLED.” You missed that I guess. No enough is enough, You do NOT make threats with WEAPONS.

  10. Enough says:

    Granny: You do realize kids are shooting up schools and killing each other, right? Get your head out of the fifties. It’s a different world. Unfortunately, parents do not want to take the time to teach their kids anything; including respect for others.

  11. Palmcoast observer says:

    The bullies that she was threatenening should be put on watch. They were terrorizing her and they will obviously get away with it like they always do. They harass under the radar so the victim looks like she’s crazy and then if the victim finally does something after months or maybe years of torture then look what happens. Teaching the kids that it’s okay for them to harass.

  12. Concerned Citizen says:

    @ FPC Granny

    Unofrtunatley this day and age fire arms are all to accesible to children. Therefore schools have to take threats more seriously. I think that issue needs to be addressed when it occurs but it isn’t. And as harsh as this sounds an 11 year old with a Glock is just as dangerous as an adult.

    If there is a major bullying issue going on in the schools then the school system needs to step in and address it. They have to see that there is an underlying theme with all of these incidents.

    The other thing I blame is social media. They have way to much access at their age. And some of the behaviour I have seen on there is just ridiculous. I see teens and younger with phones pricer than mine. And most of the time even when eating with parents their faces are buried in the screen.

    Maybe parents need to be more involved in their kids lives and stop letting electronics baby sit.

  13. ASF says:

    A cry for help, for sure. It’s shame she felt she couldn’t get help any other way.

  14. The original woody says:

    Easy to play the blame game.

  15. Aiden says:

    Why is nothing being done to the bullies? Kids can’t complain bec then it’s worsenfor them. But, if something like this happens then the bullies should also be retaliated against. Or maybe SUE their parents? That’s it…new law…sue the parents for these trouble making bullies

  16. FPC Granny says:

    I so agree with most writers here. But maybe being back in the ’50s would be a good start. Maybe teach kids to use paper and pen, how to sign their name in cursive, have teachers teach to the class not have them do all their work on a computer, bring back the Pledge of Allegiance (so they learn to respect and love of country) maybe bring back some important life skills like Shop and Home Ec. Maybe a real “gym” class-like exercise. They now have “PE” available online for students. I would much rather have kids learning how to balance a checkbook then spend time in school learning about sex. My opinion the schools have our children more in one day then the parent does and when a child comes home and can’t even hold a pencil because their fingers have been stretched out over a keyboard all day that is when the I feel the school and teachers need to make some real changes!!

  17. greg ory says:


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