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Tuesday, 03 April 2018 19:38

51 Charged After Making School Threats, US Attorney Calls Out Consequences Featured

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Joined at the US Attorney's Office in Detroit, MI, US Attorney, Matthew Schneider led the announcement on the consequences that will take place when a person threatens a school. Schneider was joined by six county sheriffs, including Wayne County's Benny Napoleon, Detroit Police Chief James Craig, Michigan State Police, the Michigan Attorney General, the FBI, Homeland Security, the DEA, Secret Service and more.

"When you make a threat, this will change your life forever," said Schneider. 

These students face charges that vary from making bomb threats to making false reports of terrorism, many facing 20-year felonies. One suspect was initially given a $10 million bond. Authorities are also looking at passing along the cost of closing the school onto the family of the accused.

Schneider said, "We will find out who you are and you will be humiliated and embarrassed because you’re the person who caused the school to be shut down." 

Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith said his county has been especially hit hard by school threats in the wake of a mass shooting earlier this year in Parkland, FL. 

Smith said 51 people in Macomb County have been charged with making a false threat of terrorism since the shooting in Florida that killed 17 people and wounded 17 more on February 14.

"Normally through the course of a school year we get about 17 charges of false threat or threats of terrorism. Through a nine-month school year it's basically two every month, just under two a month," said Smith. "Since Parkland, which has been seven weeks or so, we have charged 51 defendants with false threat of terrorism. That's 40 juveniles and 11 adults. When I say adults, these are 17-year-old high school seniors who are charged as adults." This is more than the average amount of such charges issued by Smith’s office during the course of a school year. 

Officials have been calling on parents to become more involved in their children's social media.  Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said he has seen better cooperation from parents in some of his department's investigations.

"Sometimes they say, "'Oh not my boy,' or 'Not my girl,' ... but now it looks like parents are finally getting it," he said. 

Those who cause threats are not aware of the severity and cost it takes to send a team out, including helicopters, to investigate the potential threat.

"What we're really looking for is to figure out a way to reimburse the taxpayer for a threat that is communicated to the school district," said Oakland County's Chief Asst. Prosecutor, Paul Walton. "I think part of it is an issue of parenting. We go out to area schools all the time; we talk to first the students and we also talk to the parents. And the parents don't seem to often times want to attend or, I guess, there's a feeling it's "not going to be my son or daughter" until the police show up at the doorstep with search warrants." The parents of these students have been cooperative and have been willing to give their guns to authorities.

Schneider said schools will be given a presentation about the consequences of making such threats.  Schools are able to contact local authorities on how to join the list of visiting schools so that this presentation may be administered to parents, students, staff and faculty.

Writer: Dir. Pageant B. Atterberry

 

Read 974 times Last modified on Wednesday, 04 April 2018 15:26
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