Student Arrested After Posting Anonymous Threats Against School

This post was created on 02/08/2023.

A 13-year-old Pasco County student has been arrested in connection with anonymous threats posted on social media that resulted in hours-long disruptions at several schools in the Land O’Lakes area.

The student posted the threats against Charles R. Rushe Middle School, which led to both Rushe Middle School and adjacent Sunlake High School being placed on Controlled Campus status most of the day. Under Controlled Campus status, movement of students and staff is limited, and no one is allowed to enter or exit the campus. Two other nearby schools were affected to a lesser extent.

After a thorough and complex investigation the Pasco Sheriff’s Office was able to identify and locate the Rushe Middle School student, who admitted to sending the anonymous threats on social media. The student has been charged with making Written Threats to Kill, Disruption of a School Function, and Making a False Report to Law Enforcement.

At no time were students or staff in any danger. However, the threats resulted in disruption to the school day and the devotion of significant time and effort by law enforcement and school officials.

“It’s frustrating and concerning to have these disruptions at our schools, but I want parents to know that we will always err on the side of caution and will keep parents informed,” said Pasco School Superintendent Kurt Browning. “Also, I want students to know that making anonymous threats is not a joke; it’s a crime.

“I especially want to thank the Pasco Sheriff’s Office for responding as they did,’’ Browning said. “They conducted a thorough investigation and made sure our campuses were safe.”

A second arrest was made recently in an earlier unrelated anonymous threat against Sunlake High. In that incident on January 26 a student who used to attend school in Pasco County was arrested in Walton County where the student now lives. That anonymous threat also resulted in disruption of the school day for Sunlake High and Rushe Middle School. The Pasco Sheriff’s Office investigation determined that the threats came from outside of Pasco and worked with authorities in Walton County to make the arrest on charges of False Report of Using a Firearm in a Violent Manner, and Disruption of a School Campus.

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