Within a 24-hour time period, three students at different Forsyth County schools were taken into law enforcement custody on Thursday, Jan. 31 over what school officials are calling three “unrelated” threats of violence against their school.
School officials say that two of the students are from Otwell and North Forsyth Middle School, while the third is Cristian Gael Dominguez, a 17-year-old former Denmark High School student.
Each of the three students allegedly made a threat to their schools and themselves, either in person or via text message, and the students were quickly taken into custody by the Forsyth County Sherriff’s Office as the threats were discovered.
At this point in their investigation, Forsyth County Schools officials said authorities have determined that none of the students had any access to weapons and “at no time were any students or staff in any imminent danger.”
According to Jennifer Caracciolo, communications director for the school system, even though all of these threats have been determined to not be valid by the sheriff’s office, the school system and local law enforcement take each threat with 100 percent certainty.
“It’s still a threat,” Caracciolo said.
Caracciolo also said that each of these threats was discovered by a member of the community who chose to bring it to the attention of the school system.
In notices of these threats that were sent out to parents, principals at the three schools urged other parents and staff to do the same.
“The safety of our students and staff is our number one priority,” Otwell Principal Steve Miller stated in his notice. “We encourage everyone to continue to ‘see something, say something’ by using our anonymous Campus Crime Stoppers service at www.forsyth.k12.ga.us/safe.”
Beyond the Campus Crime Stoppers, Caracciolo said that any staff, parent or community member with information on a threat or crime being committed at a school can reach out to any school staff member anonymously, by any means necessary.
“They can text, they can email, they can call and they can go to school staff,” she said.
She also said that any student who believes they might need help with any problem – from problems at home to thoughts of self-harm or violence – can reach out to any school staff member. All Forsyth County Schools staff are trained to help support students in crisis, she said.
The two middle schools have been remanded to the custody of the juvenile court system, and their punishment will be determined by the court and school system, according to Caracciolo.
Both have been charged by the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office with terroristic threats, according to sheriff’s office deputy Jenny Belafi.
Dominguez has been arrested and charged with terroristic threats and disrupting a public school by the sheriff’s office.
Sheriff’s office spokesman, Cpl. Doug Rainwater, said that when questioned by detectives, Dominguez allegedly "didn't deny making the threat."
Dominguez was a recent transfer to Denmark, school records state, transferring to the school as a freshman after spending two years at West Forsyth High School and coming to the county from Centennial High School in Roswell in 2016.
Before allegedly making threats against Denmark, Caracciolo said that Dominguez withdrew from the school on Jan. 24, to “pursue a GED.”
“Effective immediately, he is banned from all school campuses in our district,” Denmark Principal Heather Gordy said in a letter to parents.
Sheriff’s office records show that Dominguez appeared in court on Friday and is being held in the Forsyth County Jail on a $8,000 bond.