No laughing matter

School threats result in serious consequences from law enforcement

Making a threat at school is a serious matter.

Students should be aware that threatening words will receive very serious attention from law enforcement in Warren County.

“In the past week we have had multiple juveniles charged with making threats towards their school, teachers and other students,” Warren County District Attorney Rob Greene said. “All have included felony charges, which if prosecuted as an adult could carry up to seven years in state prison.”

Students who talk about shooting kids and teachers are going to be dealt with immediately and harshly.

“It’s important to realize that these threats are taken very seriously and we have a ‘zero tolerance’ policy when it comes to threats made against our schools, students and teachers,” Greene said. “Saying anything about bringing any weapon to school to harm anyone — even if it is a joke — will be dealt with as a serious threat.”

The adult and juvenile court systems have some differences. Juveniles are not sent to jail unless they are treated as adults in the criminal system. Serious offenders are sent to supervised juvenile placement away from family and friends.

“We will make every effort to remove the child from their school, their home, and remove them from the community by requesting the court put them into placement at a juvenile detention facility, i.e. jail for kids,” Greene said.

Some students are old enough to be seen as adults in the eyes of the court.

“If the child is close to 18 years of age we will possibly prosecute the ‘child’ as an adult,” Greene said. “And if the student or person is over the age of 18 they will be prosecuted as an adult and face a lengthy stay in state prison.”

Officials are asking for and expressing their appreciation for help in preventing possible violence by immediately reporting threats.

“I want to thank all the children, teachers and parents that have come forward in reporting these incidents,” Greene said. “If students hear about a threat, they should — instead of sharing it on social media or telling their friends — immediately tell their teachers, parents or law enforcement.”

“I am asking that all parents talk to their kids about what is going on,” Greene said. “Let your children know that you can’t say ‘bomb’ at an airport and you can’t joke about guns and shooting kids at school.”

Those who do will face consequences. “Law enforcement has no greater responsibility than protecting our children,” Greene said.