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McLaughlin Student Arrested for Online Threat to Shoot Teacher


Last updated 5/16/2019 at 4:16pm

A 14-year-old McLaughlin Middle School student was arrested early Thursday morning after law enforcement received word that a threat against a teacher at McLaughlin Middle School and Fine Arts Academy was discussed on social media.

The Polk County Sheriff's office was alerted to the threat after the student exchanged comments Wednesday afternoon with a friend in the chat portion of Instagram. Officials reported that in text messages the student first talked about a possible fight with another student and asked whether he should bring a gun to school Thursday. In his exchange with the other student he indicated plans to shoot a teacher, Mr. Ortiz. According to the McLaughlin website the only Mr. Ortiz is the school's guitar teacher, Samuel Ortiz.

"Law enforcement promptly investigated. The student who made the threat has been arrested. The campus is safe, and the school is operating as normal," according to a statement released to parents on social media by the school administration.They said in an abundance of caution, additional law enforcement would be on campus Thursday.

"Polk County Public Schools is committed to ensuring the safest possible learning environment and takes any threat against its students, staff and schools seriously," the statement concluded.

Based upon "sending these messages, or electronic communication to discuss a shooting," the sheriff's office charged the student with written threat to kill or do bodily injury, a second degree felony.


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