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Prescott middle-schooler facing terrorism charges over alleged school threat

Handcuffs AP
Posted at 7:32 AM, May 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-27 07:53:47-04

PRESCOTT, AZ — A Prescott middle-schooler is facing terrorism charges over alleged threats he made against his school.

On May 17, a school bus driver for Prescott Mile High Middle School reported a student who allegedly made threatening comments. School officials then contacted the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office.

The bus driver said the 13-year-old made threats to "shoot up the school" three times while speaking to him during the bus route prior to being dropped off near his home.

School administrators contacted the boy's mother and YCSO.

Deputies met with the student and his mom at their residence in Prescott, and the child admitted to telling the driver he was going to shoot up the school.

He then told deputies he did it to distract the driver while his friend moved to the back of the bus, but that he had no real intention of doing any harm at the school, according to YCSO.

The boy was placed under arrest and booked into the Yavapai County Juvenile Detention Center and is charged with threatening or intimidating, interference or disruption of an educational institution, and making a terrorist threat.

The mother told deputies there were firearms in the home that were locked in a safe. The YCSO deputy suggested that the combination be changed to prevent access in case the boy knows the combination.

The Yavapai County Sheriff's Office urges all parents with gun safes to routinely change the passcodes as a safety precaution.

"I want to speak directly to the young people out there. I cannot stress enough the seriousness of making a threat to a school, even if you are 'just kidding,'" said Sheriff David Rhodes. "You will be arrested and charged for making these types of dangerous threats. 'I wasn't serious' isn't a defense, so please be aware that your words have consequences."

RELATED: High school student arrested for threats, targeting students online

"In the wake of the latest deadly school shooting in Texas, we cannot be too careful and diligent. YCSO extends our condolences to the families of the victims in Uvalde tragedy," said Yavapai County Sheriff's Office.

The Prescott Unified School District released the following statement in response to the situation:

"Mile High Middle School and the Prescott Unified School District are grateful for a strong communication plan and longtime first rate relationship with our Yavapai County Sheriff's Office, as well as our Prescott Police department. This situation that occurred on May 17 was handled immediately by the bus driver, working with administration and immediate response by the Sheriff's Department. Policy and law was immediately consulted and followed completely. The student was disciplined per policy and statute. While student discipline is not public information that can be shared, the obvious response that the student would not be returning for at least the duration of the school year was employed. It is unfortunate that students sometimes make decisions to say things that cannot be said with the world the way it is today. This student's words were taken very seriously, and the timing with the tragedy in Texas is unfortunate. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families in Texas."