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Ex-student accused of extortion
Former Alcovy senior arrested after teacher receives threats

COVINGTON - An 18-year-old former Alcovy High School student has been arrested after he allegedly attempted to extort $10,000 from a teacher and threatened his family, according to the Newton County Sheriff's Office.

Bertalan Andras Darazs Jr., 18, of 20 Green Hill Court, was arrested Aug. 28 and charged with terroristic threats and acts.

Investigator Jason Griffin said the teacher received a text message asking for $10,000 and telling him "he would never see his little girl again" unless the money was paid.

"He brushed it off, but contacted the deputies at the school," Griffin said, adding that the school resource officers then reported the incident to the NCSO Criminal Investigation Division.

Griffin said he went to the school and tracked down the number of the cell phone that had sent the text message. Investigators discovered the phone belonged to Darazs, a former student of the teacher.

"While we were there another text message came in from the same number," the investigator said. "It said, 'Next time I will take care of killing your wife. Just give me my money or else.' We were at the boy's house within five minutes of receiving the message. He confessed and we arrested him."

Griffin said the investigation had revealed that Darazs was upset with the teacher because of a poor grade he received on a class project.

"He did not graduate and blamed the teacher," Griffin said, adding that he thought the poor grade on the project prevented him from taking the graduation test. "As it turned out, it had absolutely nothing to do with it, according to the offender's mother."

Griffin said any threats of this nature are taken seriously and handled accordingly.

"We have a zero-tolerance policy for anything concerning schools, especially teachers and students," he said.

In other news, a 12-year-old charter school student recently discovered how seriously threats are taken, as well.

According to Lt. Bill Watterson, on Aug. 26 the student was removed from a school bus at Cousins Middle School after he was disrespectful.

Watterson said the student then went into Cousins and told the assistant principal and later a school resource officer that it was his intention to "blow up the school."

"Based on past events, whatever involves a middle or high school, we take seriously," Watterson said. "And children know we do take those things seriously. We have zero tolerance when it comes to the safety of our schools."

The student was charged with making terroristic threats, a felony, and released to Juvenile Court authorities.

Three juvenile offenders were arrested at Eastside High School on Aug. 28 after Principal Robert Daria told authorities he saw two boys go into the bathroom and one handed the other one some cash.

"The boys (one 14 and the other 15) were brought to the office and searched. The 15-year-old had two white pills that turned out to be Xanax and the 14-year-old had six pills which also were identified as Xanax," Watterson said.

The two told authorities that a third student, a 16-year-old female, was the one who brought the pills to school.

All three were arrested and charged with violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act, possession (of dangerous drugs) with intent to distribute in a school zone and transaction in a school safety zone.

The three were charged and turned over to Juvenile Court authorities.