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Students charged with assault after threatening Flagler teacher, deputies say

Sheriff's Office recommends enhanced penalties as hate crimes

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FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – Two students from Flagler Palm Coast High School have been charged with assault following an incident that began Monday in which the students threatened to harm a teacher, deputies said.

Flagler County Sheriff’s Office officials said a 16-year-old girl and 16-year-old boy used school issued computers to communicate with each other about harming the teacher, Kimberly Lee.

Investigators said they began conducting an interview with Lee on Tuesday, after they were alerted to the activity. Lee told detectives she believed one of the students was capable of harming her, and that she has a well-founded fear after the communication was discovered.

Deputies said the teens’ communication included extremely racist language, and when they were interviewed, they said claimed the comments were just “inappropriate jokes.”

However, detectives said an investigation into the matter determined the students made intentional and unlawful threats to Lee and that violence against her was possible.

The two students were charged with assault, and the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office recommended enhanced penalties as hate crimes under Florida law.

“I was appalled at the language these students were using and the threats made toward this teacher,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “These racial tones have no place in our community.”

Flagler Schools Superintendent James Tager said the district rely on many security procedures, which include monitoring of electronic communications on the campuses.

“We are appreciative of the security the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office provides all our campuses and our administration at Flagler Palm High School continues to work with FCSO investigators in this particular case.

Sheriff’s Office officials said its Domestic Homeland Security staff continue to conduct threat assessments on the teens involved.


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