HOLMES COUNTY - The Holmes County Sheriff's Office is investigating allegations that a student at Bethlehem School made statements indicating he was going to shoot others at the school.
A School Resource Deputy was advised by school administrators Wednesday that several students had reported comments made by a 16-year-old classmate.
Student witnesses cited several statements, including that the juvenile was joking about shootings in general following the Feb. 14, 2018 school shooting in Parkland, making gestures with his hands in the shape of two pistols, and saying he was the "Nikolas Cruz of Bethlehem."
Deputies went to the juvenile's residence and contacted his mother, who granted permission to speak with him.
The juvenile stated the allegations were not accurate, and that while he did not feel liked in school, he had never discussed the Parkland shooting with anyone, nor make any jokes about shooting up the school. He also stated he did not have access to any firearms.
The case was forward to the State's Attorney Office, and the juvenile will be charged with disruption of school function.
Holmes County Sheriff John Tate urges parents to take time to speak with their children about the dangers of making comments about school shootings or making bomb threats. Sheriff Tate and staff will also be traveling to district schools this week to speak to students about the ramifications of making threats.
"It seems we have had an increase in threats of violence by school students in the last several weeks," said Sheriff Tate. "The tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland punctuates our need to take each threat, real or perceived, against our students seriously. I urge parents to take time to speak to their children about the repercussions of making such threats, as well as to seek resources to help their children if they feel the child is dealing with issues that could lead to violence. Our children are our greatest treasure, and we should work together to ensure their safety."