13-year-old arrested for Palm Coast school bomb threat, a copycat, Sheriff Staly says

The Daytona Beach boy made the call on a dare from a friend at Buddy Taylor Middle School.

Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly and Flagler Schools Superintendent LaShakia Moore address the media May 17. Photo by Brian McMillan
Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly and Flagler Schools Superintendent LaShakia Moore address the media May 17. Photo by Brian McMillan
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A 13-year-old Daytona Beach boy was arrested May 17, after he called in a bomb threat to Buddy Taylor Middle School on a dare, Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly reported in a press conference.

The boy, whose name is not being released by the Observer in harmony with Associated Press standards, was born Dec. 6, 2010. He was dared by a friend who is a student at Buddy Taylor, in Palm Coast. The boy, whose initials are J.S. and has not been a student at Buddy Taylor himself, told law enforcement that he made the call because he didn’t want to be a “punk” by not following through on his friend's dare, Staly said.

It was the fourth day in a row that a threatening call had been made to Buddy Taylor Middle School, but this incident was likely a copycat, Staly said. Investigations continue on the previous calls.

“I have a message to the young man that dared [J.S.]: Turn yourself in. Go to your parents, tell them what you did and turn yourself in because we will find you next,” Staly said.

The arrest comes after six previous bomb threats or shooting threats at four Flagler County schools between May 14 to May 17.

Staly and Superintendent LaShakia Moore acknowledged the disruption and anxiety caused by the school lockdowns throughout the week.

“I know these ongoing threats to our schools are weighing heavily on our community,” Staly said, “so it is important that we keep the community informed and updated on developments as they occur.”

“I, too, appeal to the person who dared as well as who the original person is, to cut it out,” Moore said. “Our kids don’t deserve it.”

Due to the threats, absenteeism has been high at Buddy Taylor, Moore said. 

"It is the end of the year, but it’s not the last day," Moore said, "so there are still lots of things happening. We have end-of-course exams, and we have promotions, graduations. As I stated [at yesterday's press conference], it’s a parent’s right. A parent has to make the choice, if you continue to send them to school."

Moore and Staly lamented how the incidents have likely ruined the typical end-of-year celebrations for many students.

The call from J.S. was received at Buddy Taylor at 10:47 a.m. May 17, stating, “The school will be blown up at 11.”

Nineteen Flagler Sheriff deputies, along with a multitude of other law enforcement and fire department units were deployed in response, Staly said.

After J.S. was located in Daytona Beach — holding the phone that made the threatening call — he was taken to the Volusia Regional Juvenile Detention Center, on three third-degree felony charges. If he is tried as an adult, the charges would be punishable by a maximum of five years in state prison each.

"The callers might have technology that they’re using, but we’ve got technology, too," Staly said. "We are going to get you. We have the resources to hunt you down and arrest you, to put you where you belong."

Staly said he would continue to pursue J.S.'s parents and fulfill Staly's promise to make them pay for the expense of the investigation. 

Staly reiterated his call to local parents: "I ask you to be the sheriff in your home. Be the sheriff to your kids. Talk to your kids about the seriousness of making threats. We take every threat seriously, and when we come knocking on your door, your kid is going to jail."

He added: "It takes a bigger person to walk away from the dare, than to do it."


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