Teenager Attempts to Set off Bomb at Utah High School

Among the hundreds of teens threatening violence towards their schools over the last few weeks with five of those threats happening in Utah, one teen from southern Utah actually attempted to set off a bomb at a high school.

No warning

Photo by: Michael Rael

While many of the threats around the state and nation have been dismissed as teens wanting their spot in the limelight, one teen in southern Utah didn’t take to social media to gain attention from his peers by making a public threat-he carried out an unexpected attack that luckily didn’t work. The juvenile that hasn’t been named due to his age placed a backpack containing a homemade bomb and shrapnel in a busy lunchroom at Pine View High School in St. George. Fortunately for the possibly hundreds of students in the lunchroom at the time, the bomb malfunctioned. Another student noticed smoke coming from the bag and notified a teacher and school resource officer who removed the bomb and evacuated the school.

Criminal charges

Utah Code 76-10-402 states “A person who . . . intentionally or knowingly manufactures, possesses, sells, delivers, displays, uses, attempts to use, solicits the use of, or conspires to use a weapon of mass destruction or a delivery system for a weapon of mass destruction . . . is guilty of a first degree felony.” Due to the seriousness of the charges, the teen could face adult charges for attempting to bomb a school. He is also facing charges for vandalizing another Utah school and putting up an ISIS flag as it was determined during the investigation that he was likewise responsible for that.

Mental health for youth

Photo by: Boudewijn Berends

There is little information about the boy who attempted to bomb Pine View High School but from those that knew him, this act of terrorism came as a complete surprise. Assumptions are being made that the teen suffered from mental illnesses and along with criminal charges, many hope he receives the psychological help he needs.

Attention-Seeking Teens Threatening Violence at School

Multiple attention-seeking teens (who ironically will go unnamed on the news as they are minors) have taken to social media over the last couple weeks, threatening violence at their schools.

Threatening violence at school

Photo by: Eric Fischer

While the world is still reeling from the deadly shooting at a high school in Florida, a handful of teens in Utah have chosen to make jokes, gain attention from peers, or make classmates fearful by threatening violence at their own schools throughout the Beehive State. Although none of the threats have been determined to be real, teens that voice, text, post or snap messages threatening violence at school can face criminal charges. The penalties for threatening violence at school can vary depending on the specifics of the threat.

Threat of violence

If a teen makes a threat to another person or group, they could be charged with making a threat of violence. Utah Code 76-5-107 explains that if a teen makes a threat of violence “with intent to place a person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury, substantial bodily injury, or death” or is “accompanied by a show of immediate force or violence”, they could face a class B misdemeanor. Teens should know that they don’t have to plainly make a threat; even implying that there is a threat of violence to another is a crime.

Threat of terrorism

If a teen makes a threat of violence and their actions “cause an official or volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies to take action due to the person’s conduct posing a serious and substantial risk to the general public “, they may also face a class B misdemeanor according to Utah Code 76-5-107.3 which deals with terrorist threats. If the teen’s threats involve a real or hoax weapon of mass destruction such as a bomb or “any item or instrumentality that is designed or intended to cause widespread death or serious bodily injury to multiple victims” as detailed in section 76-10-401, their charges could be increased to a second degree felony.

Be known for good

Photo by: Sebastian Oliva

At an age where teens are trying to make their mark on the world and be remembered as an individual, they should also be warned that threatening violence at school is not a healthy way to obtain the limelight. Long after the dust settles on their threat, they may still have blemishes on their juvenile or adult criminal record that can trouble them long after high school is over.

Vandalism and Abuse of a flag at Utah High School

The small town of Hurricane, Utah has once again gained national attention after vandalism and signs of abuse of a flag were found at the local high school.

Small town, big news

Photo by: Lin Cheong

The small southern Utah town has made the news again not even a month after two students from Hurricane High School posted a disturbingly racist post on social media, gaining national attention and outrage. Now Hurricane, Utah has made headlines for flying an Isis flag at the local high school?

Legitimate threat or immature prank

Early last Thursday morning, one or more individuals removed the American flag from a flagpole outside the Hurricane High school, desecrating it. They then proceeded to replace the American flag with an Isis flag and continued their humorless prank by spray painting the side of the building. Concerned over the possibility of a terrorist threat, the local police department contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigations who deemed there to be no danger. The possibility of a prank is likely which could have been carried out by local residents or even students.

Abuse of a flag is no joke

Whether or not the shout out to Isis was a prank or not, abuse of a flag is not tolerated. Utah Code 76-9-601 states: “A person is guilty of abuse of a flag if he . . . Knowingly casts contempt upon the flag of the United States or of any state of the United States by publicly mutilating, defacing, defiling, burning, or trampling upon it. Abuse of a flag is a class B misdemeanor.” Adults or teens who wish to voice their frustration with the government are encouraged to seek legal avenues to make their voices heard.

Bullying in Utah Elementary Schools

Bullying is a problem through most middle to high schools in Utah but many parents are surprised to know it can begin as early as elementary school.

Photo by: Working Word

Bullying starts young

Bullying is most prevalent among middle school age children, but elementary and even preschool age kids can demonstrate early signs of bullying. Young children may act aggressively towards other children to get what they want or they may find that making fun of another child results in laughs from peers. While preschool age children may not have the understanding needed for their actions to constitute deliberate bullying, if unchecked, their behavior may develop into worse conduct as they enter grade school.

Kids at risk of being the bully

Once kids enter elementary school, they begin to observe more how their behavior affects their peers. While this could help kids develop more empathy and concern for others, it can backfire by showing children how to best bully those around them. There are several reasons why a child bullies another:
• They may be mimicking behavior seen at home;
• They could be using bullying to get attention or higher social standing amongst their peers;
• They could hurt another because their own self-esteem is low;
• Or they may have underdeveloped empathy, leaving them unable to see how their behavior is affecting others.

Kids at risk or being bullied

With every bully comes a victim. Sometimes there are multiple victims to one bully but usually there is a single child being picked on, and oftentimes by more than one of their peers. According to stopbullying.gov, “young people who are perceived as different from their peers are often at risk for being bullied.” Some examples of why certain kids are bullied include:
• A child who is naturally taller or built bigger than their classmates;
• A student with disabilities;
• Those who have non-traditional families including children of divorcees;
• A child who isn’t involved with local religious groups;
• Children of ethnic minorities;
• Kids who are naturally quiet or withdrawn, seen as easy targets that won’t fight back.

Prevent bullying at home

Parents are encouraged to teach their children empathy and compassion for others and to nip any signs of bullying in the bud as soon as they occur. Bullying that is not resolved can lead to suspension or expulsion from school and criminal charges if physical harm or threats occur or if electronic devices are used to torment others. Parents whose children are facing charges related to bullying should consult legal counsel from a juvenile defense attorney.

Utah Teen Dies after Trespassing on Roof of Building

A 17 year old Utah teen is dead after trespassing on the roof of a Murray building with his friends.

Trespassing results in death

Photo by MySecuritySign.com

The 17 year old teen along with two friends had made their way past a fence and onto the roof a building in Murray Utah that was being renovated when the teen somehow fell through the roof, falling to his death. Despite the fence as a barrier and signs instructing people to stay clear of the area, the teens made the fatal mistake to trespass onto the property.

No trespassing for safety

There are several reasons why fences and no trespassing signs are listed on buildings and edges of property. Often this is due to Utah residents and businesses attempting to keep loitering down or to protect their property from theft or vandalism. One of the key reasons however for a property owner to ask the public not to trespass is to prevent others from injury or death.

Criminal charges

Any teens thinking of trespassing where they are not allowed should be warned that beyond the danger that trespassing poses, there are also legal reasons to obey “keep out” signs and barrier fences. According to Utah Code 76-6-206, “A person is guilty of criminal trespass if . . .

(b) knowing the person’s . . . presence is unlawful, the person enters or remains on . . . property to which notice against entering is given by:

(i) personal communication to the person by the owner or someone with apparent authority to act for the owner;

(ii) fencing or other enclosure obviously designed to exclude intruders; or

(iii) posting of signs reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders”.

Punishments and consequences

Trespassing is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Due to the uppermost punishment of already losing a friend, it is possible the friends of the teen killed may not face charges for trespassing. For those who do face charges, contact a juvenile defense attorney.