Students Won't Stop Making Threats, So Sheriff Is Going After Parents

Fifteen students have been charged with making threats in Volusia County since the Valentine's Day murders in Parkland.

Volusia County, FL – One Florida sheriff has had enough of threats and hoaxes shutting down schools and using up police resources in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shootings.

In one Volusia County school district alone, 15 juveniles are now facing felony threat charges since the shooting.

Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said he was going to make parents more accountable for their children’s behavior after four more students were arrested on Thursday for threats of violence toward other students or their schools, WFLA reported.

Sheriff Chitwood announced that students, or their parents, will be responsible for reimbursing the county for the cost of the police response to their threats.

“Last week, I said, ‘You don't want me raising your child. You don't want me involved in your family life.’ Well, now you have me, because yesterday was just out of control,” Sheriff Chitwood said, according to WFXT.

“You want to act like a knucklehead? You’re going to be a knucklehead in handcuffs. And I’m telling the parents, sit your child down and tell them. You don’t want Chitwood raising your kid, because if Chitwood is raising your kid, the only jewelry they’re ever going to have is a pair of handcuffs on them,” the sheriff told WFLA.

The minimum cost for law enforcement to respond to a school threat was more than $1,000, but the sheriff said it could be much more expensive, depending on the nature of the threat and what kind of resources are required to investigate it, WFLA reported.

Fifteen students in Volusia County were facing felony charges and possible prison time for making threats since the Feb. 14 massacre in Parkland, which left 17 students and faculty dead, and other 14 wounded.

“We’re not joking around,” Volusia County Schools spokeswoman Nancy Wait told WCMH.

“Unfortunately that word didn’t get to the students and we started seeing more students making threats in the classroom, and that was frightening to their classmates,” she said. “Most of the time these students didn’t have access to weapons, but they were still making threats to shoot up their schools.”

Many schools and police departments have been taking a tougher approach to the sort of behavior that might have been construed as a “prank” in the past.

WCMH reported that an Ohio organization that tracks school threats and violent incidents nationwide has documented a spike in threats across the county since the Valentine’s Day rampage at the Florida high school.

The Educator’s School Safety Network had counted 797 incidents as of Sunday, a seven-fold increase in the usual rate, according to Amy Klinger, the network’s director of programs.

In the 18 days since a former student murdered classmates and teachers in Parkland, there have been 743 threats of various kinds, including gun and bomb threats, WCMH reported.

They reported that 331 threats were made on social media, and another 119 threats were made verbally.

Klinger told WCMH that the mentality has shifted from treating school threats as pranks to treating them as crimes with actual consequences.

“They almost have to be,” she said. “Do we want to do this for the rest of the school year? Do we want to have this constant chaos and fear, and people being upset? How much learning is going on?”

Don Bridges, president of the National Association of School Resource Officers, told WCMH the number of threats decreases when school districts make it clear that the behavior won’t be tolerated.

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DeeA56
DeeA56

Hurray for this Sheriff The parents Need to take control of their kids, & let them know how serious this is. All kids need to learn how to behave. They need to learn that there are consequences for their actions, they need to know how to behave when a Police Officer approaches them. They need to respect teachers & adults alike. Maybe if the parents took a child on a tour of a jail it might wake both parent & child up.

LEO0301
LEO0301

I disagree. It's the slap on the wrist mentality that created this mess to begin with. It's a very serious matter and deserving of a felony charge.

jakesj40
jakesj40

How would you determine which one is a hoax and which one is a threat. A felony charge is well deserved. Make these hoodlums responsible for their actions.

OldSchoolLet'sBeReal
OldSchoolLet'sBeReal

Inflicting terror, threatening to hunt down and shoot the kids and teachers around you like fish in a barrel is not FUNNY and should NOT be tolerated as acceptable. Especially after recent violence. These threats are not normal and these kids have to wake up and come back to the real world. I think there needs to be program implemented where the children have to spend time in jail for 3 days with counseling once a day as well as afterwards.

Teijeiro2
Teijeiro2

AND YOU, cclaxton, are part of the problem! They are not threatening to TP the principal's car, but KILL PEOPLE. If they have been alive for the last 10 years and haven't learned that, that is unacceptable behavior, a "misdemeanor" won't do it.

NTPD935Ret
NTPD935Ret

Oh if they just gave everyone a trophy, a safe room to wear their safety pin and a hug, none of this would happen. Teachers are just mean with their rules and trying to teach us things and trying to make us put our cell phones away and not text each other. BS... teachers and adults need to have the right to discipline students and parents should start backing teachers and cops again.

Trefflek
Trefflek

These kids need to have their behavior broken. Treat them like marine basic training. I still some respect in them. Let them realize their snowflake world will melt around them with behavior like this.

oldgeezer
oldgeezer

Charging them with a felony is exactly what should happen. That is how they will be stymied in [legally] buying a gun in the first place. I suspect only a few will need to be prosecuted before the other kids get the idea. Of course,they will actually have to be prosecuted. Empty threats will do nothing but demonstrate the impotence the judicial system.

oldgeezer
oldgeezer

We could give them a trophy for completing their in school suspension. We want them to feel good about themselves.

eimed2000
eimed2000

The main reason for all of this increased activity is all of the press that occurred after the last shooting. The student who suddenly was being treated like he had the answers, who made disparaging remarks about our president, and everyone was hanging at the edge of their seats to hear what he was going to say next. Sorry, he has NO life's experience that could have made him the preacher that the press made him. And the press that he got gave rise to the incidents because all of these other youngsters with no more life's experience than their classmate, or fellow American high school student, suddenly felt empowered. The media is no friend to America or the American way of life as we knew it. They are paid to stir the pot, the actual unbiased truth is too expensive today.

Resa
Resa

It's last time for this to be stopped and if this is what it takes to make it happen,then MAKE IT HAPPEN!!

Mic911
Mic911

Kids today are spoiled and expect everything on a silver platter! They do not realize the consequences that come with these threats, resources used up (especially if another real emergency comes in), lives being placed at risk...it all has a domino effect. The parents should be held accountable along with the students, they are essentially not providing the parenting that should be done. Sheriff Chitwood is doing what is right and within the law, he has my support! Felony arrests will make those responsible wake up, this is not a joke people....children are dying because of stupidity!!!

DaleMcNamee
DaleMcNamee

If the threats are considered felonies...

It stands to reason that the "children" making them should be charged with the felony

Eramthgin
Eramthgin

I once had student who we knew was dangerous threatened to kill me one day at school. Result NOTHING. We should have been chasing these punks years ago.

WoodMagnolia
WoodMagnolia

I had a very strict father. But a very loving father. I now have three adult sons. My youngest is a true millennial through and through. My older two are not. I didn’t think I was spoiling him to much at the time. I’m so angry and frustrated and disappointed in myself and my son. I honestly believe I cannot be the only parent feeling this way. I am now taking corrective action to fix my stupidity and my sons entitlement. I think the parents of these kids need a similar “come to Jesus meeting”. While my son has never done anything dangerous, he is still a shithead. Make parents accountable. Don’t let them or their kid sweep this under the rug to “protect” themselves or their kid. The buck stops with the parents.

Mannie
Mannie

Better late than never. To some extent, we are where we are, because we have been lax with school discipline. We let too many people get away with stuff. In Broward County, they had a program of deliberately nou arresting hids and sweeping the crime under the rug.

No. 26-28
LaneysSis
LaneysSis

Oh yeah that is nothing more than a slap on the wrist and to some of these kids a badge of honor. I agree 100% with the Sheriff. You are so out of touch with this.

dla
dla

Nothing like getting kids into the system early. They are the next generation of profit for the prison system.