The Flagler County Sheriff's Office's stepped up presence at Buddy Taylor Middle School this morning, where students were being turned away. (© FlaglerLive)

The Flagler County Sheriff's Office's stepped up presence at Buddy Taylor Middle School this morning, where students were being turned away. (© FlaglerLive)
The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office’s stepped up presence at Buddy Taylor Middle School this morning, where students were being turned away. (© FlaglerLive)

Last Updated: 3:50 p.m.

3:45 p.m. update–Old Kings Elementary and First Baptist Christian Academy at the old courthouse in Bunnell were both targeted with phoned-in threats similar to the one that targeted Buddy Taylor Middle School this morning. Sheriff’s deputies responded. Old Kings went into “secure status,” a response somewhat different from a full lockdown. The status was lifted at Old Kings around 3:30 p.m., and all dismissals and afterschool activities continued as schedule. This morning’s report is below.

For the second day in a row, Buddy Taylor Middle School is the target of a suspicious called-in threat that’s resulted in a lockdown before school started this morning and the turning away of students arriving for class. The lockdown was lifted around 8:40 a.m.

At 7:20 the flow of students on foot was away from school along Belle Terre Parkway and students on inbound buses were being redirected to another location, apparently either to have the opportunity to connect with parents or guardians or to be re-drive home. In neighborhoods around the school, students were also walking in the opposite direction than the normal morning flow, while others stood in their driveways.

Parents driving in their children were told either to stay in their cars or to go home. Some students were outside the school perimeter, huddled in small groups with crossing guards, waiting for further instructions. Most of the Buddy Taylor parking lot was already full with staff and faculty cars. Many of those staffers stood outside their cars, waiting, though some were in the building, on lockdown.

Numerous Flagler County Sheriff’s units were in the parking lot of the joint building between Wadsworth Elementary and Buddy Taylor Middle School. The Sheriff’s Office posted an alert on its Facebook page about a suspicious call that was being investigated.

“Right now they have a lockdown for the whole site,” Don Foley, the school district’s spokesman, said, the whole including Wadsworth Elementary. The Wadsworth campus had a smaller police presence. School there starts around 9 a.m., so most of the faculty had not yet started arriving, though a few were already there–also outside, in the parking lot.

On Tuesday, Buddy Taylor Middle School was the target of a swatting call, Foley said. Swatting is when an individual calls 911 to (falsely) report that a deadly emergency is unfolding at a particular location. Since dispatchers and law enforcement cannot take chances, the response is immediate. “They had a swatting call at one of the two schools, they checked it out and everything was fine,” Foley said. He said it was not yet clear whether today’s incident is a repeat of that.

It appeared that school could be cancelled for the day, at least at Buddy Taylor, though that was not confirmed. “The students that are on buses I am old will be going back home,” Foley said. But the district is communicating directly with parents, he said.

Shortly after 9 a.m., Foley said that all school buses had been redirected to Indian Trails Middle School where parents and guardians could pick up their children if they so chose. If not, they had the option of waiting out the emergency. Since the lockdown was lifted, the buses drove the remaining students back to Buddy Taylor Middle School, where classes were set to resume.

Parents still have the option of picking up their children from Buddy Taylor itself, but if they so choose, Foley said, they are asked to drive to the back of the school and pick them up from the gym, rather than drive to the front part of the campus.

The school day normally starts at 7:30 a.m. for students at Buddy Taylor (to 1:40 p.m.), and at 9:10 a.m. (to 3:30 p.m.) at Wadsworth Elementary. Wadsworth was given the all-clear to hold its classes as scheduled.

Students awaiting instructions outside the perimeter of the Buddy Taylor Middle School and Wadsworth Elementary School this morning. (© FlaglerLive)
Students awaiting instructions outside the perimeter of the Buddy Taylor Middle School and Wadsworth Elementary School this morning. (© FlaglerLive)
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