Last Updated: 4:35 p.m.
A 13-year-old student at Buddy Taylor Middle School was charged with two felony counts of making threats to kill after he allegedly threatened his teacher and a classmate at school on Tuesday. It is the second instance of a student arrest for making threats at school since school resumed on Aug. 10.
The student’s alleged threats were laced in misogynistic insults against the teacher, a recurring theme in such incidents involving Flagler school students. The alleged victim is a 51-year-old art teacher.
No weapons were involved. According to the boy’s arrest report, he told a Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy that he was having issues with another student and got upset when his teacher intervened. He denied threatening to shoot her. But in the teacher’s telling, the boy told her to shut up, insulted her in various ways, pointed his hand at her and “insinuated he had a gun and said ‘I am going to shoot you’ multiple times.” The teacher reported he also threatened to empty his clip into another student, though the teacher did not think that the other student heard the alleged threat. Other students did, however.
The teacher was “visibly shaken,” according to the report, and had been in fear for her life. It was the first time that the 13 year old was in her class. An assistant principal referred the matter to the school resource officer at Buddy Taylor.
The Sheriff’s Office in a release about Tuesday’s incident noted it was “the sixth similar arrest of a student in the last 30-days.” Based on Sheriff’s Office documentation of all recent incidents, the statement is incorrect.
Sheriff’s releases are often reproduced or read verbatim, without verification, in various media, including radio and television, so the statement risks creating the false impression of a significant uptick in threatening statements at school or threatening to do harm at school. Sheriff’s releases that have documented such arrests have in fact totaled only two in the last three months: aside from the one reported today, a 12-year-old girl was arrested at Buddy Taylor on Sept. 30 for making threats to shoot up the school.
Before that, a 13-year-old Bunnell girl was arrested for making threats in mid-August, the week school resumed–but not at school, nor did the threat involve a school.
There have been three other, unannounced arrests, but not in the past 30 days, not involving schools, or taking place at schools.
On Aug. 23, two 12-year-old students who happen to attend Buddy Taylor Middle School were charged with making written threats to kill, but the students, both girls, were arrested a week after the fact. The incident had not taken place at school or during school hours, but in an exchange on Instagram. In the course of the exchange, the girls said things like, “I will kill you” and “my mom will kill you” or “my dad will kill you.” The school’s Threat Assessment Team–each school has such teams–considered the threat transient, meaning that it did not rise to a level of gravity warranting law enforcement intervention. (Threat Assessment Teams are responsible for assessing threats and judging whether to involve police.) It was nevertheless turned over to a deputy, who determined that the two arrests were in order.
Another arrest took place on Aug. 14, involving a 13-year-old Bunnell girl, but again, the incident was unrelated to school other than that alleged assailant and alleged victim knew each other from school, were friends, but were having an argument by text and voice clips, one of them threatening to “put a bullet between your eyes,” and another item showing the alleged assailant with a gun. The girl was arrested.
There have been two incidents at the Indian Trails Sports Complex involving juveniles and actual guns, with two juveniles arrested on charges of illegal gun possession, but not on charges of making threats. The threat-to-kill charge is a second-degree felony. Students are usually sentenced to juvenile probation. The district typically removes the child from campus but continues his or her education through remote instruction.
While all three children arrested since August for making threats in school or directed at schools have said that they had no intention to carry out their threats, nor had the means to do so, two of the students unquestionably used vile and demeaning language directed at their teachers, reflecting sharpened coarseness against and devaluation of teachers.
Education Week reports that there’s been 24 school shootings so far this year, 16 since Aug. 1 (none in Florida), equaling or nearly equaling the rate in 2018 and 2019. The numbers fell in 2020, to 10, when the majority of schools were shuttered in the nation due to covid.
“Making threats to others is no joke and will always be taken seriously,” Sheriff Rick Staly said in today’s release. “It is unfortunate how often we have to make these arrests. Parents, I ask that you please teach your children the proper way to handle anger and that making threats or acting out is not the solution. I once again implore parents to be the Sheriff in your home and talk to your children. We don’t want to be the Sheriff of your child but we will if you don’t.”
What happend to sticks and stones… I guess kids can’t be kids anymore… I guess the thought police have won….
Concerned Citizen says
Children often learn behavior from their elders.
When we as adults act the way we do at school board meetings and BOCC meetings we are forgetting children are watching. When public officials get on the air and call for the beheading of specific people and get away with it we are setting examples for our children to follow.
Somewhere along the way we have set the tone for It’s OK to be hostile and angry. And that it’s OK for you to make threats against people. So why should we not expect our children to behave any different?
Parenting not only starts at home. It continues in the community. One of the greatest responsibilities we have as adults is to set the proper example. Whether you are at a public meeting or are in the car going down the road and texting remember there are eyes watching what you do.
While I understand the need to take threats seriously we need to figure out a way to address the cause of these incidents without making instant juvenile offenders.
And our Sheriff should enforce the Law evenly. He seems to have a thing for arresting our children.
Disturbing that these children are becoming bullies & thugs. Parents can’t be teaching them this. Get them processed and handled appropriately. Decriminalization is only going to be more tolerance for criminal behavior, that can’t happen. Raise the bar for anyone’s individual conduct, not lower it, even children.
Concerned Adult says
It’s so disturbing to hear of children today acting and saying these things. Are parents raising children or thugs? For some students, going to school is a safe environment. I’m so glad that my children are grown. Having phones, social media and all these electronics for these children are becoming so dangerous. Children need to spend more time outdoors and with their families. Making threats to kill someone is so wrong. Words can be just as bad as a weapon. This not only upsets the other students but also the adults. What is our world coming to?
While it is true that “kids will be kids” and some amount of school taunting and related misbehavior, however unfortunate, is inevitable, we are way past time when threats of violence against other students and teachers can be simply ignored or tolerated. The day that a student states he or she will shoot up the school when upset with someone and nothing is done about it ended decades ago before the Columbine, CO school massacre. I’m curious what is going on specifically in Buddy Taylor middle school though, as it seems there is an unusually steeper learning curve due to the recent incidents there of threatening violence against teachers and students. At the risk of repeating myself once again, I call on the school administrators and FCSO school resource deputies to implement a process where every single student in our school system is required to have some type of documentation placed into their official school file at the beginning of the school year showing they have been properly notified of the consequences of making threats of violence against another student, teachers or the school in general, and the potential of arrest for a felony crime. This documentation can, and should, be provided to the state attorney as evidence in court to prove the student was aware that this behavior is a felony that would result in a criminal prosecution. We all keep hearing the phrase that education is necessary to prevent someone from going down the path of a criminal lifestyle, so let’s put this concept into practice where these incidents are taking place again and again to reinforce the need to put a stop to them or students will have no excuse why they did not know in advance the potential legal consequences they would be facing in court.
With all of the violence directed toward school district staff in the past year, Skibum has a great piece to add to the Student Code of Conduct. Students AND Parents should have to read and agree to the Code of Conduct toward ANY school district staff (bus driver’s, cafeteria workers, custodians, teachers, teacher aids, administrators, etc) and toward other students, and that BOTH the student and their parent/guardian will be dealt with using the school district disciplinary code in addition to being referred to law enforcement for prosecution. Then when things hit the fan, the school district has more leverage with discipline, banning adults from school district properties, being referred to mandatory counseling, parenting classes, law enforcement, etc., etc. I have seen it done in other school districts years ago. Incidents have always randomly cropped up, but things have definitely escalated and need to be dealt with pronto. Of course certain school board members would totally try to muck it up and render policies useless (in my opinion). So we will probably continue to see Sheriff Staly’s crew doing clean up. Sad what that this state has descended into the gates of hell for school districts trying to do the right thing. No wonder they can’t find qualified teachers. Teaching is hard enough without dealing with this insanity. All the while Deathsantis and minions are patting themselves on the back and drinking highballs, while their kids are most likely attending “private” schools or academies. The drama continues…
Let’s up the ante and encourage everyone to have more guns. That’ll surely calm things down.
Children live what they learn. Just sayin’.
Niba man says
Just got out 5 days ago