Michigan students face potential charges for false school threats

Student arrested after threat at Holt Jr. High School
Michigan students face potential charges for false school threats
Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 5:48 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 3, 2021 at 6:24 PM EST
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DELHI TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WILX) - There have been more than 70 copycat threats against schools across Michigan after Tuesday’s deadly shooting at Oxford High School.

In Ingham County, a 13-year-old was taken into custody, accused of posting a threat to shoot up Holt Junior High School.

Punishments for these types of threats can be severe because they are treated as if they’re real until investigations are finished.

“As a parent, it’s very scary,” said Stephanie Badgley, Holt Jr High parent.

Several parents picked their children up from Holt Jr. High School early Friday. There were also more police at the school because of the threat.

“We don’t have a choice other than taking it seriously, and that’s sad,” said Badgley.

Thursday, Holt High School was locked down because of another threat found at the end of the day.

“Maybe a couple of years ago it might have startled me and I might have reacted differently, but I’d hate to say this, but it’s becoming the norm,” said Badgley.

The 13-year-old student accused of making those threats was arrested Friday morning.

The student could be charged with several crimes, including terrorism for making a threat -- even if it isn’t real.

Most of the charges carry a 20-year prison sentence.

“Because, unlike someone who targets an individual, the school shootings are often designed to create that fear in the whole community, the whole school. the trauma is very real,” said Carol Siemon, Ingham County Prosecutor.

Siemon said the charges levied depend on the circumstances around a threat. She said she’s charged several people for threatening a school since she took office.

“We take them seriously. We check, do you have a means, do you have access to weapons, do you give a specific description when you’re going to come, what you might be targeting,” said Siemon.

And the question Badgley wants to be answered now is how do you make the threats stop?

“I don’t know how you fix it. I don’t have the answer. I know anybody does right now,” she said.

Siemon told News 10 a letter is going home with every student in Ingham County urging parents to talk to their children about appropriate social media use and the consequences for making a threat against a school.

The Ingham County Sheriff’s Office said parents reported the latest threat through OK2Say, the statewide anonymous reporting program many mid-Michigan schools use.

OK2SAY is available 24/7 and tips can be submitted in the following ways:

  • Call: 8-555-OK2SAY (855-565-2729)
  • Text: 652729 (OK2SAY)
  • Email: OK2SAY@mi.gov
  • OK2SAY website: ok2say.com
  • OK2SAY mobile app: Available for download in app stores for iPhone and Android

Here is a list of possible charges for making a threat against a school:

  • Threat of Terrorism - 20 Years and/or $20,000.00; reimburse government for expenses incurred from violation (see MCL 750.543x & 769.1f)
  • False Threat of Terrorism - 20 Years and/or $20,000.00; reimburse government for expenses incurred from violation (see MCL 750.543x & 769.1f)
  • Use of Internet/Telecommunications to Commit Terrorism - 20 Years and/or $20,000.00; reimburse government for expenses incurred from violation (see MCL 750.543x & 769.1f)
  • Intentional threat to commit an act of violence against a school - 1 Year misdemeanor and/or $1,000.00
  • Intentional Threat to Commit Act of Violence Against School, School Employees or Students with Specific Intent to Carry Out or Overt Act Toward - 10 Years and/or $20,000.00
  • Use of a Computer to Commit a Crime - Generally same as the crime committed up to a maximum of 20 years

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