What happens to teens after they make a school threat of violence

March 20, 2018 11:46 PM

Since the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, the Educator's School Safety Network reports a considerable increase in school based violence and threats. Jumping from 10 incidents a day to more than 70, nationwide.  

In our viewing area, to date, February and March have seen a total of fifteen threats made, resulting in the arrests of two adult students and eight more minors detained.

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Sheriff Craig Apple says what happens next to those minors depends on their age and the severity of their charges.

"More times than not what happens is probation takes over they monitor him, he or she is sent home and basically it's up to the parents to be parents," Apple said.

However, if the judge at family court deems the child  deserves a harsher penalty, they could be sent to a juvenile detention center and that, the sheriff says, inevitably marks the beginning of a long rap sheet.

"We'll get somebody in at 16 and I'll see him fifteen, eighteen years from now still doing life on the installment plan going in for six, going in for four," Apple added.

"Many of the juvenile detention centers really look like a prison with younger inmates," Phil Rainer said.

The Capital Counseling chief clinical officer has treated a handful of kids involved in the local school threats and says the frequency at which the events are occurring is a combination of poor mental health and a sign of the times.

"I think it's also an expression of frustration and anger and the difficulty that they're having in finding effective solutions to their problems and so they end up acting out in these out of control kinds of ways that become increasingly dramatic," Rainer said.

He agrees that once a child enters a detention system their emotional well being and academic potential is negatively affected resulting in depression, anxiety, PTSD and even suicide.

Rainer says parents can be proactive by getting involved in their child's life, talking with them, becoming aware of what they're doing on social media and paying close attention to changes in grades and overall mood.


Karen Tararache

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