Putnam County FL: Previous public information releases by both the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and Putnam County School District contained information on messages written on the walls of Palatka High School and Interlachen High School. The messages contained wording that could be construed as threats to both schools. The message written on a bathroom wall at Palatka High was discovered on February 10TH and a similar message was found at Interlachen High School on February 13TH. While there was no evidence to suggest that either message was anything more than a prank, Sheriff’s Office and School District officials enacted heightened school safety protocols out of an abundance of caution. PCSO Major Crimes Detectives are actively pursuing leads in the cases at Palatka and Interlachen High Schools.
Today, a third message was discovered written on a wall at C. H. Price Middle School in Interlachen. The threatening message was very similar to the ones located at Palatka and Interlachen High Schools. A joint investigation conducted by the Sheriff’s Office and Putnam County School District identified a 12-year-old male student as being responsible for the message at C. H. Price Middle School. The investigation also revealed that the student wrote the message as a prank and had no means to carry out the threat. At the conclusion of the investigation, deputies arrested the student and charged him making written threats to do bodily harm, which is a second degree felony. The student was booked into the Putnam County Jail and later released to a guardian by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.
Although the messages located at Putnam County Schools mirror pranks taking place in several jurisdictions across Florida, Sheriff’s Office and School District officials will continue to operate under heightened security procedures for the time being.
Sheriff Gator DeLoach said, “It is extremely disappointing that this series of events has resulted in the arrest of a 12-year-old student, but the Sheriff’s Office will continue to exercise zero tolerance when it comes to threatening the safety of our children and the disruption of school functions. The Sheriff’s Office will work closely with the Department of Juvenile Justice to see that the arrested student received the services needed to prevent future acts of this nature.”