“I feel like shooting up the school and then living in solitary confinement for the rest of my days.”
That was the line the parent of a Flagler Palm Coast High School student noticed in an Instagram group chat her son was involved in. The line was not written by her son, but by a 16-year-old FPC girl, who followed her text with the emoji of a laughing and crying face. It wasn’t the only alarming line.
“I’m gonna murder someone”
“I’m straight up gonna be a serial killer”
“I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a sociopath that doesn’t feel shit and would be happy to kill people.”
The messages were written Sunday evening (Feb. 16), according to sheriff’s deputies. The boy’s parent called the sheriff’s office Monday morning.
The girl who allegedly wrote the messages, is autistic. She is an athlete and also in the Flagler County Sheriff’s Explorer program, which the agency describes as “designed to build strong relationships between teens and law enforcement officers while teaching participants about the law enforcement profession.”
Parents have been repeatedly advised to stay on top of their children’s social media accounts, monitoring text and other electronic communications. This parent was doing just that with her son’s account. He “was reluctant to make any comments on the matter as he did not want to get [the girl] in any trouble,” the girl’s arrest report states. But he explained that he and fellow-students had recently completed an exam for advanced placement. Some had received a letter, some had not, and some saw the absence of a letter as indicating lesser marks.
Sheriff’s deputies, including school resource deputies, located the girl at her Palm Coast home, where the girl, on advice from her mother and as is her right, declined to speak to deputies right at that moment beyond a few statements.
The girl’s membership in the sheriff’s Explorer program was immediately terminated following her arrest. “Sheriff’s Explorer supervisors never observed any issues or had any problems with her in the program,” a sheriff’s release stated this afternoon. (The release names the student. FlaglerLive is withholding the name.)
“It is very unfortunate that a person who showed interest in becoming a law enforcement officer would make threats of this kind. That is not a type of behavior tolerated by our Sheriff’s Explorers or anyone else for that matter,” Sheriff Rick Staly was quoted as saying in the release. “I commend the parent who was doing the right thing and monitoring their child’s activity on their phone and saw this message and reported it. This type of parenting should be praised. We hope this student gets the help that she is crying out for.”
The girl was charged with sending a written threat to kill or conduct a mass shooting, a second-degree felony. Her booking was processed at the Flagler County jail before she was transported to the Department of Juvenile Justice in Daytona Beach. Earlier this month another former FPC girl who was 16 at the time she was similarly charged with making threats to kill was, after a trial, sentenced to probation.
The sheriff’s release does not mention the girl’s autism, and a sheriff’s spokesperson said she was not aware of that. “We had no information about that,” the spokesperson said. “If the school district is aware, they have never let us know that.”
The district’s executive team was apprised of the arrest this afternoon, a school district spokesman said. “We can’t say anything about this particular student because of federal law,” a district spokesman said. “We appreciate the parent who saw this conversation online and reported it.”
When she was in elementary school in another state several years ago, her school denied her what her mother felt was her right to have her service dog at school, to help her with her autism. The district at the time did not view the dog as such, and said the child’s needs were being met, according to press reports. The issue went as far as generating a full editorial in a local paper urging the district to re-consider despite several compromises proposed by her mother.