A 17 year old Utah teen was earlier this month for a back to school threat of gun violence that left students and parents more apprehensive about the return of the school year.
Back to school
Returning to school after a long summer can be tough for kids as they navigate a changed schedule with different teachers and sometimes even a new school. To add to the chaos and uneasiness of returning to class for an Orem high school was the threat of gun violence by a senior the day before classes resumed. The 17 year old girl who was not named due to her being a minor posted a video on Instagram showing her loading a gun and saying: “You ready for your first and last day of school?” Worried parents alerted police to the alarming video and the teen was later arrested for making a threat of gun violence against a school, a threat of terrorism.
The girl may have been serious about her threat of gun violence or she may have been playing a joke. Regardless, she is facing multiple charges including a second degree felony for making a threat of terrorism for her social media post. Utah Code 76-5-107.3 states “A person commits a [second degree] threat of terrorism if the person threatens to commit any offense involving bodily injury, death, or substantial property damage, and: threatens the use of a weapon [or hoax weapon] or mass destruction. . or acts with intent to. . . intimidate or coerce a civilian population.” That section goes on to explain that “A threat . . . may be express[ed] or implied.”
No laughing matter
With more kids and parents being on edge following the increase of school shootings around the nation, making a “joke” threat of gun violence ends up not being funny to anyone involved. Kids and teens need to be warned about the ramifications of making these types of serious threats. Those minors and their families who are facing legal trouble following a hoax threat are encouraged to see a reputable attorney to handle the juvenile or district court case.