‘Knock it off': Sheriff says parents will pay for law enforcement response to school threats


VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — A new plan is in the works to put a stop to the threats that have left schools on edge across Volusia County, Florida.

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Sheriff Michael Chitwood said students and their families caught making the threats will have to pay for the law enforcement response.

The announcement comes after four threats or pranks were investigated Thursday.

There have been nearly a dozen threats or hoaxes at Volusia County schools since the Parkland shooting on Feb. 14.

Two of Thursday’s threats were at Deltona High School. Students said they don’t feel safe.

“With the threats going on, it's not really feeling safe in the way that it's supposed to,” said student Somer Housley.

Chitwood said students responsible for a hoax or threat will now have to pay the price and cover the cost of the law enforcement response, which can be $1,082 or higher.

"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," Chitwood said.

Deputies have charged 15 students for threats or false statements since the Parkland shooting.

“I'm imploring parents. If you tell your kids to knock it off, they'll knock it off. If you put the law down at home, then I don't have to raise your kid, you don't have to worry about being fined,” Chitwood said.

In one of Thursday’s incidents yesterday, a student at Deltona High School claimed to have a weapon in a backpack, but nothing was found.

Housley isn't sure if the new approach will work.

“It's a lot of money and the parents are going to be upset about it, but the students aren't going to be the ones who have to pay for it out of pocket,” said Housley.

But parents likely will, and the sheriff hopes that will put a stop to these incidents.
The sheriff said the office has used the technique in the past, with penalties usually handed down through the courts.

He said rolling out the bomb squad to check on a threat can cost up to $10,000.