The consequences of making threats against a school

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — Carmel police are investigating a pair of threats made against Carmel High School, just a day after nearly one-fifth of the high school missed missed class because of an earlier threat authorities deemed not credible.

The two recent threats came via Snapchat. But threats can be as simple as a text, maybe with a photo.

“It’s not okay. When there are threats like this it makes you feel a little less safe there,” said Cameron Lewis, a junior at the high school.

Arrests have been made nationwide this week for online threats against schools.

And in the wake of the deadliest mass shooting at a United States high school, students have taken any threat — even a joke — seriously.

“It makes the whole school feel on alert,” said Lewis.

Students like Lewis stayed home Friday, even though he thinks the school does a good job on safety.

He wasn’t alone: About 1,000 others made the same decision.

“It just seemed like a little less safe than usual, (like) if something was going to happen it would happen then,” said Lewis.

Attorney Brad Banks said he sees cases dealing with this exact issue.

Threats of that kind can be charged as a level 6 felony, which can net the offender up to two years in jail.

But Banks said juveniles are usually slapped with probation, and the record gets wiped at the age of 18.

If the charge of intimidation happens at a school, Banks said a student could get expelled.

State law says you face the same penalties for threatening a school or another individual.

“Whether you threaten 25 people or one,” said Banks.

He said he wouldn’t be surprised if lawmakers stiffened the penalty to a level 5 felony, which is the charge for threatening a judge or prosecutor, possibly tripling the jail time.

Banks said precedent exists for a harsher penalty when a threat involves a school. For example, if you’re caught dealing drugs on school property, the penalty is more severe than if you were off school property.

For the penalty against school threats to change, Indiana lawmakers would have to pass a bill on the issue.