BTMS Receives Threatening Call for 4th Straight Day; All Clear Given Within an Hour


In what's becoming a bizarrely normal occurrence, Palm Coast's Buddy Taylor Middle School was the subject of a threatening phone call for the fourth day in a row on Friday. It's becoming increasingly obvious that the school is the target of a scheme to disrupt activities every day, possibly until the end of the school year.

Flagler Sheriff Rick Staly has said it's a tactic called 'swatting', when someone fraudulently reports an emergency situation in an effort to draw a large law enforcement response to a particular location. It's hit BTMS, as well as Old Kings Elementary School and multiple private schools in Bunnell.

A lockdown was issued for BTMS at 10:48 am, followed by a status downgrade to 'secure' at 10:53 am, according to a statement issued by the school district. Deputies responded, as they have every day since Tuesday, and performed a sweep of the campus to rule out any legitimate threat.

Outdoor activities at the school were moved indoors out of caution. By 11:42 am, 54 minutes after the lockdown was issued, an all-clear was given. The repetition of the threats and possibly whatever leads the Flagler County Sheriff's Office are pursuing are allowing them to clear the campus with increasing quickness.

There are five levels of alert for Flagler Schools campuses, each with a brief . They are as follows, ordered from most to least severe:

  1. Shelter - 'State hazard and safety strategy'
  2. Evacuate - 'Evacuate to a location'
  3. Lockdown - 'Locks, light, out of sight'
  4. Secure - 'Get inside, lock outside doors'
  5. Hold - 'Hold in a classroom or area'

As of now, little is known about the state of the FCSO's investigation into the repeated threats. Sheriff Staly didn't specify exactly how much evidence had been collected, and has decided not to release the audio of these phone calls for the time being. They've been placed to the FCSO dispatch, as well as to the Volusia Sheriff's Office and a police dispatch in Lincoln, Nebraska. Parents and guardians who choose to keep their kids home due to these scares have been informed by Superintendent LaShakia Moore that those absences will be excused.