PALM COAST (CBSMiami/AP) — Threats made by students forced a Florida language arts teacher to buy a gun for protection.
Another teacher discovered the racially charged messages sent between students at Palm Coast High School, which is just north of Daytona Beach.
Deputies say two white students were sending messages to each other discussing killing their black language arts teacher Kimberly Lee and making racists remarks about her because the female student was upset Lee would not let her make up some work.
According to the Sheriff’s Office report, the students said they knew where Lee lived and it would not count as murder because Lee is black.
“We were looking at certain crimes like written threats to kill stuff like that, felony level charges none of which this incident fit the elements that are needed,” said Steve Brandt, Flagler Count Sheriff’s Office Investigative Services Divisions Chief.
A Sheriff’s Office news release says the boy and girl, both 16, were charged with misdemeanor assault on Wednesday, though no arrests were immediately made. The charge for each student was enhanced as a hate crime under state law.
Investigators say the Flagler Palm Coast High School students were questioned Monday about making plans to harm the teacher. The teens claimed they were joking.
The teacher told investigators Tuesday that she wanted to press charges because she believes the students are capable of harming her.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)