Two Newberry High School students will be tried as adults in connection to the recent bomb threats at Alachua County Public schools. The two were transferred to the Alachua County Jail Wednesday.
The two minors face up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine after reporting false bomb threats through a two-way communication device, Alachua County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Kaley Behl said.
A Buchholz High School student also was charged as an adult, meaning he also may serve up to 15 years in prison and pay thousands of dollars worth of fines. Gainesville Police Department Chief Tony Jones wrote that he would continue to push for students to be given appropriate charges for the severity of their crimes.
“We cannot and will not allow these criminals to hold our community hostage,” Jones wrote. “For those who decide to pursue criminal and terrorist activity, I will devote the time, resources and energy need to successfully solve and prosecute these types of crimes to the fullest extent of the law.”
A 15-year-old female is charged with two counts of making false bomb threats and two counts of sending a written threat to kill. Her bond is set at $100,000.
In addition, the 17-year-old male is charged with three counts of making false bomb threats and three counts of sending a written threat to kill. His bond is set at $150,000.
False bomb threats have been made four times to Buchholz High School with one arrest; once to Santa Fe College; four times to Newberry High School with two arrests; once to Oak View Middle School; four times to Gainesville High School with one arrest; and four times to Eastside High School with three arrests. These threats have all occurred in the last two months.
An arrest could mean expulsion, ACPS Superintendent Carlee Simon wrote in a Facebook post Sept. 30.
“Having something like this on their record will haunt them for a very long time,” Simon wrote.
As of Thursday, State Attorney’s Office spokesperson Darry Lloyd said it is unknown when the two students will appear in court.
“This has been a huge disruption, not only to the school system, but if you look at individual students who are trying their hardest just to be successful in school,” Lloyd said. “Who are trying to just make it through the day.”
The adult charges follow a similar case for the 17-year-old Buchholz High School student who was charged as an adult in September. The two Gainesville and two Eastside High School students arrested still remain in the Alachua County Juvenile Detention Center.
Behl said the bomb threats have serious consequences.
“It wasn’t a joke,” Behl said. “It has the potential to ruin your life.”
Alligator Staff Writer Faith Buckley contributed to this report.
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Isabella Douglas is a second-year journalism major and the criminal justice reporter for The Alligator's Metro desk. She previously worked as a news assistant for The Alligator's University team and as a contributing writer for the New Tampa & Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News. When she isn't reporting, she can be found reorganizing her bookshelf and adding books to her ever-growing TBR.