Prosecutor: Students will be accountable for threats

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Logan County Prosecutor Eric Stewart intends to hold any student who makes a school threat accountable for the actions.

In a statement released Thursday, Stewart said, “With the recent tragedy in Parkland, Fla., many of our thoughts are about school safety and keeping our children safe.

“Unfortunately, there have been several local students who have recently used this tragedy in order to gain some attention. Students have threatened to bring guns to school, ‘shoot the school up,’ or created "hit lists.’ In each of these incidents, which were diligently investigated by the schools and law enforcement, there was no real threat.

“Regardless of whether a student was joking or just seeking attention, it still causes a huge disruption to the school and community. School administrators have to take each statement seriously and set aside their regular duties to investigate.

“Sometimes school days are delayed or canceled. Rumors spread and parents panic, which has a significant emotional cost.

“Law enforcement also has to expend their already stretched time, resources, and effort into investigating the statements.

“The county prosecutor recently discussed this issue with the county superintendents and law enforcement. It was decided that any threat to bring a gun to school or similar type threat, even if it was intended as a joke, would not only be thoroughly investigated but also charged. The student will be brought in front of a judge and will answer to the charges.

“We live in a time that such statements cannot be considered a joke. (Such threats) cause serious disruptions to the schools and community.

“Everyone knows that if a person goes to the airport and jokes about having a bomb, airport security is going to haul them off, search them and interrogate them for hours. They will miss their flight and suffer serious negative consequences. As a result, no one jokes about having a bomb at the airport anymore.

“Charges that will be brought against students that make such comments, even if in jest, include: menacing, aggravated menacing, inducing panic and disorderly conduct. “Even if a student intended the statements as a joke, if another student, teacher, or parent believed it to be a threat, then the student will be charged.

“We encourage parents to talk about these issues with their children and impress upon them the seriousness of the matter.”

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