Two white students in Florida are facing charges for sending threatening and racist messages about their Black teacher to one another.
The Brunswick News reports the two 16-year-old students were charged with misdemeanor assault on Wednesday. Under Florida law, their charges have been upgraded to hate crimes.
When questioned, the students told authorities they had no plans to execute the threats they discussed; each dismissed the messages as jokes.
Even though the students insisted their threats weren't serious, the teacher mentioned in the messages, Kimberly Lee, said she wanted to press charges against the teens because she felt they are dangerous, according to WFTS.
In a statement posted to the department's official Facebook page, Sheriff Rick Staly of the Flagler County Sheriff's Office condemned the students' remarks and assured the public any and all threats would be met with swift justice.
"I was appalled at the language these students were using and the threats made toward this teacher," Sheriff Staly's statement read. "The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office has a zero tolerance policy on school threats. All threats will be taken seriously and thoroughly investigated and appropriate charges will be made."
According to the Sheriff's Office, the two students have not been arrested as their threats did not meet the requirements for arrest under state law.
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