Student's 'shoot up the school' joke gets him arrested

14-year-old Matanzas High student charged with felony after comment

By Francine Frazier - Senior web producer

PALM COAST, Fla. - A 14-year-old Matanzas High School student is facing a felony charge after several classmates heard him say he would “shoot up the school,” as he was struggling during a math class, the Flagler County Sheriff's Office said.

Someone emailed the dean of students about the comment, which was made Tuesday morning, and the student was pulled out of class and asked about the remark by the school resource deputy.

The deputy reported that the student admitted to the comment, saying he was working on a math problem that was “giving him problems” and he was frustrated.

He said “he was just joking around.”

The deputy read him is rights and took him into custody.

The four students who heard the comment all told the deputy that they believe the 14-year-old “was joking around.”

But it was no laughing matter for the Sheriff's Office or the school district.

“We have zero tolerance for this type of behavior, and we will not allow it in our schools,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “We have a commitment to keeping our students and schools safe, and we will continue to investigate all threats and file criminal charges when appropriate.”

The student was charged with with making a false report of using firearms against a person, which is a felony.

“We have made it clear to Sheriff Staly that we will not tolerate threats on or to our campuses,” Flagler County Schools Superintendent James Tager added. “These are not joking matters and we stand with our law enforcement partners in ensuring all students, teachers, and staff can learn and work in a safe environment.”

The student will be taken to the Flagler County Detention Facility.

Any suspicious activity should be reported to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office immediately by calling 9-1-1 for an emergency or 386-313-4911 for a non-emergency. Tips can be submitted through Crime Stoppers at 1-888-277-TIPS (8477) or by emailing TIPS@flaglersheriff.com.

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