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Palm Coast Thursday, Sep. 8, 2016 5 years ago

Six boys tied to threat at Flagler Palm Coast High School

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The boys have been banned from the campus as detectives investigate.
by: Jonathan Simmons Managing Editor

Six boys at Flagler Palm Coast High School were tied to a "detailed plan to conduct a coordinated plot" against the school Sept. 7. 

A Flagler County Sheriff's Office news release issued the evening of Sept. 8 said that detectives "are uncertain at this time if the plot was real or part of a role playing game."

The boys were questioned at the school campus by Sheriff’s Office deputies and then sent home with their parents and barred from returning to campus, School District spokesman Jason Wheeler said. 

None had been charged with a crime as of the evening of Sept. 8, but, the Sheriff's Office news release stated, "Criminal charges are possible as the investigation continues."

The investigation began in the late morning Sept. 7 when an emailed bomb threat was sent to Bunnell Elementary School. 

“It was done on a student email account, and they quickly found who that student was and traced that student to FPC, and it unraveled from there,” Wheeler said. 

The investigation uncovered late in the afternoon, but before high schoolers were released from classes for the day, that five more boys were involved in a plot against the high school. The boys were questioned at school and released to their parents.

A Sheriff's Office spokeswoman said the morning of Sept. 8 that it appeared the students may not have been serious about the threat.

"We are working very closing with the School District to investigate this, and to make sure that there is no actual threat," Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Laura Williams said. "This really sounds like students who were goofing around, but we are being very thorough and making sure that there's not a serious threat."

By the evening of Sept. 8, detectives had "confirmed the bomb threat made yesterday via a FPC student’s email account was a hoax and was not credible," according to the Sheriff's Office news release.

The boys are now on an "administrative excusal" — banned from campus for five days, but receiving excused absences for the time missed as detectives investigate. 

No weapons were found, and the School District did not raise the threat level at the school or inform other students’ parents of the threat.

“The administrators worked to determine who was involved, and determined that there was no current credible threat … so there was no reason to," Wheeler said. 

Additional deputies were sent out to the school late in the afternoon, arriving at about 3:30 p.m. 

Detectives confiscated the boys’ school-issued laptops and are conducting an investigation, but some information from the students' computers had been deleted, Williams said, necessitating computer forensic work.

A Sheriff's Office case report on the threat lists seven boys, not six. The seventh boy on the case report, Wheeler said, is not a current student and may now live out of state. Of the seven boys listed in the case report, six are 14 years old, and one is 15.

Wheeler and Williams did not know whether the boys have been in trouble at school in the past. No additional school resource officers were assigned to FPC the following day, Sept. 8.

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