DeLand, FL – A 15-year-old Southwestern Middle School student is facing a felony charge for allegedly saying someone was going to shoot up the school, and for making threatening gestures like pretending to shoot classmates.
He is the 26th student charged by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office for making school threats since the Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland, FL.
Witnesses say it was on Thursday when the student in question left the classroom to use the restroom and came back at around 1:30 PM. When he came back, his teacher and other students heard him say “They are going to shoot up the school,” then he reportedly walked around the classroom pretending to hold a gun and shoot other students. The teacher told him to leave the classroom and go to the assistant principal’s office, but instead, he left the school, jumped over a fence, and was last seen walking north on Stone Street.
A Sheriff’s deputy was called to the school where he spoke with the teacher. He then went to the student’s home and spoke to his mother. The student wasn’t home at the time but was arrested later that day, at around 5:45 PM. He’s been charged with making a false report of a bomb/arson/weapon of mass destruction, which is a felony.
Sheriff Mike Chitwood and school officials continue to stress that there is a zero-tolerance policy for anyone who makes threats or jokes about shootings, bombings, and other acts of violence at school or on social media. In addition to facing criminal charges, defendants or their families are being asked to pay for the cost of the Sheriff’s Office’s response to their cases – about $1,032 per case.
Photo courtesy Southwestern Middle School.
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