NEW PORT RICHEY (FOX 13) - A Pasco County student is behind bars for threatening to kill a former teacher. The threat was not spoken. It was posted on Facebook.
18-year-old Desiree Zio used to be a student at River Ridge High School, set to begin classes at the district's Marchman Technical College. A teacher at River Ridge was the target of the online threat.
Sunday afternoon, Pasco County deputies were alerted to a Facebook post, reading, "I'm going to kill (blank)." It was left on that teacher's page. Deputies later linked the post to 18-year-old Desiree Zio.
"It was a teacher from the prior school year and apparently, there was a misunderstanding or some bullying that had gone on in the prior year that the student wasn't satisfied with the resolution on, and she just lashed out at the teacher on social media this year," said Lt. Troy Fergueson of the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.
According to the arrest affidavit, Zio admitted to posting the threat from her mother's Facebook account, telling deputies she would "go to the victim's work and kill her by stabbing her with a knife." Zio is charged with making "written threats to kill" - a felony.
"We take all those threats against our school teachers or administration very very seriously," Fergueson. "They are very disruptive to our schools and even the kids who think they are just joking around, it is not joke."
"It's something we will not tolerate for any student, to threaten any staff member or fellow student," said Spencer Pylant, Communication and Government Relations Liaison for Pasco County Schools.
Desiree's parents, Luc and Ruby, say there's more to the story. They say she suffers from mental illness, autism, and has been previously Baker Acted. They say she doesn't always understand what she says and is not competent to handle herself in court. She was supposed to begin classes at Marchman Technical College. Now, she sits in jail on $10,000 bond.
"It's something that we want to bring awareness to and let students know, your actions that you put out there, whether it's in reality or social media, do result in consequences that can be pretty negative," said Pylant.
While it's unclear where this case will go on the legal end, the school district says, what Desiree Zio posted is a violation of the student code of conduct. That could result in a 10-day suspension or a recommendation of expulsion.