On Wednesday, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office decided to repost a video message it had archived previously. “Making a threat against a school, even if you don’t mean it, is a felony crime,” Sheriff Rick Staly tells the camera as images show a girl on a swing texting her anger and warnings: “Don’t go to school tomorrow.”
Two hours later, a parent called the Sheriff’s Office to report what would be the third such threat in eight days, this time originating at Bunnell Elementary School.
A 12-year-old boy “was arrested at his home after threatening to bring a gun to school to shoot up the school,” a sheriff’s spokesperson said this morning. “He admitted to the threat but said he had no intention of carrying it out.”
“We were informed by the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office that they received a tip of a threat made against our school,” Marcus Sanfilippo, the school’s principal, wrote staffers in an email this morning. The message was also transmitted by robocalls. “They quickly identified the person who was alleged to have made the threat, as well as a few people who overheard that person.
The student had been warning others at school on Wednesday not to come to school today “because he was planning to shoot up the school,” the sheriff’s spokesperson said. “He said he was joking and that they make jokes like this at school all the time.”
Two of the three cases of threats of shootings in the last eight days involve elementary-age students. The previous two were at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church–a first for that school–where an 11-year-old made a threat, and at Matanzas High School, where an 18-year-old made threats. All were arrested and charged with versions of the same second-degree felony charge. The 18 year old must appear in adult court before Circuit Court Terence Perkins. The younger students will be appearing before Circuit Judge Chris France in juvenile court.
The spate of incidents suggests that despite schools’ and law enforcement’s concerted campaigns to tamp down on fugitive but costly jokes of shootings, a social climate rife with recent violence may be making officials’ efforts more difficult. But as with the previous two, Wednesday’s case was quickly reported by a parenmt, enabling the Sheriff’s Office to investigate and resolve the case before school resumed this morning. There was no need for any change in scheduling or routines at the school, the spokesperson said.
The 12-year-old boy had not been in trouble before. He was processed at the county jail and turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice. That agency then turned the student over to his parents, since he had a clean record.
Where is the common semse in nleadership in this county!? And why are we allowing our local authorities to create felons from our misguided children? Where is the guidance? You label a child a felon at a young age and you will indeed create that perspective of self value threw that childs eyes. Our county is creating and grooming felons from our children. SHAMEFUL
Deborah Coffey says
Just wondering if they’re all getting these ideas of violence from their parents. How many far right-wingers live in Palm Coast?
Concerned Citizen says
I witnessed a couple arguing and fighting in a dealership this week.
In front of their kids the F bomb and degrading name calling ensued to the point I was tempted to ask the manager to intervene. The dad walked off to cool down and while he was gone the mother continued to berate him in front of her very young son.
I never saw this growing up. I’m sure my parents had disagreements but never in front of us. And never did I see either be disrespectuful. I suppose times are different now. In my eyes this was an epic parenting fail. And part of the reason kids feel they can be disrespectful to other with no consequences.
Parenting begins at home. Teaching your kids proper behavior and respect. It’s not the school system’s or others to do it.
Proton Beam says
As a parent of school aged children and citizen – Janet McDonald, the schoolboard chair must be asked why she pushes her personal agenda through meetings, tweets and emails while she takes zero leadership or accountability on School Safety, Protection for Students (all manner including physical, gender, etc) and has let the Belle Terre Swim Club reach a crisis point again. Her actions and lack of competency are simply inexcusable. She should start by reading the Boards own Policy Manual Chapter 1 in regards to Vision, Mission and Guiding Principles, as her current grade is a F.
Ms. McDonald’s chairmanship ended in November. The current chairman is Trevor Tucker.
Just kidding says
Might I recommend remote learning from prison. Why delay the inevitable.
Parents need to sit down with their children and start having a serious talk about making threats. It is a shame that they are now witnessing our own Republican Senators threatening to harm and kill other members not to mention four years of hearing the former President of the USA encouraging threats and violence.
If those in our own government are not punished for threatening violence the children today will feel they also won’t be punished.
So, for those adults in our government look in the mirror and see the bad example you are giving to the children in our country now.
Jay Miro says
All concerned adults need to let these kids know about the endgame.
Perhaps then, they’ll get the hint.
Amy Jo Nelson says
Maybe these kids need some guidence. Maybe they asked for help with whatever is bothering them or don’t know how to ask for help and get so fed up and resort to saying stupid stuff like this. And they obviously don’t know the consequences of their actions if it’s being joked about on the daily. They need more guidence and teaching as to what can happen if they even joke about it. And then after they are tonight that, then oinjsh them to the fullest degree. But until you actually let them know it’s not a joke, kids will be kids and things like this will happen. It’s sad but it it is true.
Paul Geiss says
Not only should they arrest the troubled student and put them in jail for several days, to hopefully scare the daylights out of them, but arrest his or her parents as well. It is VERY wrong not to let them out with no real punishment. Maybe the next time they will carry out their threats. What are we waiting for, another Sandy Hook shooting, before we do what is necessary. If there is a shooting in our schools the people who should be punished as well as the parents and students, are the people who let these sick individuals back out into the community without severe punish as a deterrent.
And when a violent incident in one of these schools inevitably does occur, the authorities and the parents involved will all point self-righteous and litigious fingers, trying to assign blame to OTHERS for either “over-reacting” or not doing enough (or possibly both at the same time.) In the meantime, these kids who clearly need help are not getting any.
Concerned Citizen says
While I’m not condoning what these kids are doing. And there should be consequences for what they do I will point this out.
Our Sheriff seems hell bent on prosecuting our Children but continues to protect elected officials who made documented threats on air. Those threats violated state and federal law because the FCC is involved. Why have no charges been filed against Joe Mullins? Why is it any different than the threats the kids are making?
I spent time in the Middle East twice. And will tell you that making threats to behead folks is something that is not a “joking matter” or to be taken lightly.
Maybe he was reciting a poem or a song. Was it art?…..sarcasm indeed.
If County councilmen can threaten violence against democratic citizens and have no punishment. Then why are these children being punished? They are watching our leaders and following what they see
Concerned Citizen says
As stated in my earlier comment I whole heartedly agree.
Joe Mullins needs to be held 100% accountable for his remarks made on the air. It’s no different than you or I having a verbal altercation in public and one of us saying I’m going to kick your ass.
Sadly we have a republican grand standing Sheriff who has it out for our kids. And has more than likely been told to protect Mullins.
Would be interesting if FL did sone investigative journalism on why no action has been taken.
Yeah lets put an 11 year old in jail, great idea….seriously? That’s setting him up for failure. He needs help and discipline. Jail isn’t the answer for a child with minimal mental maturity. The kid probably doesn’t even know how to use a gun, just knows the lyrics to these rap songs. Let’s hold the parents accountable for not teaching their child basic respect. I can bet this child is a product of the neighborhood across the street or one of the infested sections of Palm Coast. Flagler County is getting worse and worse.
The child was processed at the jail but not held there.