Prosecutor: Talk to students about consequences of social media threats

BLACKMAN TOWNSHIP, MI (WILX) -- Several mid-Michigan students could welcome their adult years while behind bars.

They've been arrested and could face felony charges for making threats against schools.

Now Jackson County Prosecutor Jerry Jarzynka is hoping parents will start talking with their kids about the seriousness making a threat can be.

In a letter to parents, Jarzynka says his office has received many reports of students threatening their schools, teachers, and classmates since the tragedy in Parkland, Florida in 2018.

He says most of those threats turned out to be a joke or a prank, but something that he, police, and schools don't take lightly.

There are several ways these threats can be charged.

The attorney said if a student makes a threat toward a school they could face up to a 20-year felony charge.

On the state level, they include terroristic communications and false report of a crime. On the federal level, they include communications across state lines that are threats.

The general state penalty is 20 years in prison and fine, and the general federal penalty is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Making false threats of terrorism is what four teenage students at Concord Community Schools were charged with last week.

They were charged as juveniles.

Last week, three students at Northwest Community Schools were arrested for making threats toward schools within the district.

All of the threats were made on social media.

In addition to spending years in prison, students would also lose their scholarship, federal aid, and admission into college, according to Jarzynka.

He is urging parents to talk with their children about the consequences of making threats against schools."

"There is nothing humorous about shooting up a school and there is no such thing as a joke involving the threat of mass murder."

All threats will continue to be taken seriously and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, Jarzynka said.

"By working together, we can provide our children the safe schools they deserve."

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