Editor’s Note: This letter by Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof was recently sent to parents across Charlevoix County.
Few events hit home for students and families like a school shooting.
When students learn of these events on television or on social media, it is natural for them to worry about their own school and their own safety.
Unfortunately, some students see these tragedies as an opportunity to gain notoriety and make threats against their schools, teachers, and classmates.
Many students nationwide have used social media or other methods to make threats against schools.
We had two incidents here in Charlevoix County last year where a local school district (and community) was the victim of bomb threats.
Many of these threats turned out to be made by students who claim they were just joking or playing a prank.
I want to be very clear: these threats are no joke, and this behavior will not be tolerated!
While the punishments dictated by the criminal justice system are stern, students may face additional consequences, including:
• Loss of scholarships and federal aid
• Denied college admission
• Being required to disclose pending cases or criminal convictions on job applications
I urge you to talk to your children about the appropriate use of social media, and the lasting consequences of making threats against our schools.
Please stress that there is nothing humorous about threatening to shoot up or bomb 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 extend under the law.
By working together, we can provide our children the safe schools they deserve.