FLINT — Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton has charged seven local middle and high school students with making threats to shoot up their schools in the wake of the tragedy last week at Oxford High School and investigations continue into several other incidents.
Each of the students are charged as juveniles with the crime of False Report or Threat of Terrorism, which is a 20-year felony. Some of the students face additional charges including use of a computer to commit a crime, a 20-year felony and intentional threat to commit an act of violence against a school, school employees or students, a misdemeanor.
As reported last week, one of the students, a 17-year-old student of Flint Southwestern Classical Academy, was charged after she made and posted a rap-style video to social media in which she said she was going to shoot up the school “like Oxford.” Since that first charge, six other students have been charged with similar acts, most involving threats posted on social media or communicated verbally to others or in text messages.
There are six other incidents that remain pending while police investigations and prosecutor review continue.
In all, three students at Carmen Ainsworth Middle School, one at Flint Southwestern, one at Linden High School, one at Hamady High School and one at Linden Charter Academy have been charged.
Ongoing investigations include incidents in Mt. Morris Township, Swartz Creek, Burton and Grand Blanc.
“We have seen so-called ‘copycat’ threats before, but the tragedy that occurred so close to home at Oxford High School has really caused a spike in such activity,” said Leyton. “I will repeat what I have said before; making threats to shoot up a school is no joking matter, and individuals who choose to do so will face serious consequences.”
“Such threats, credible or not, cause fear among students, their parents, school staff and the entire community and it detracts from local law enforcement’s ability to tend to other important public safety needs,” Leyton continued. “As I have repeatedly said over the years, I am not going to try to differentiate between real and bogus threats; anyone who makes a threat will be charged under the law.”
Prosecutor Leyton continues to urge parents and schools to educate their children about the seriousness of school shootings and to warn them of the great consequences that come with making threats even if they are intended to be a joke.