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Students making false threats facing severe consequences around Michigan

By TREVOR SOCHOCKI, JAMES PAXSON

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    Michigan (WNEM) — School districts across the state are dealing with copycat threats following Tuesday’s horrific shooting.

Even though the threats may not be credible, administrators and law enforcement are not taking the threats lightly.

More than 100 schools across the state were closed Friday because of threats of violence like the tragedy Tuesday at Oxford High School.

Bay City Public Schools announced their closure last night after a flood of messages they couldn’t keep up with.

“It’s so incredibly stupid and life ruining to do something like that. The reality is people who are responsible for this, while they may think it’s a silly game and it’s fun and hey it’s a great way to get school cancelled, there are severe criminal penalties that go along with this,” said Steve Bigelow, superintendent at Bay City Public Schools.

Penalties include up to 20 years in prison for a false threat of terrorism and using a computer to commit a crime. Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton has already charged a 17-year-old Flint Southwestern Classical Academy girl with both of those.

“And in this day and age, it’s just something you cannot do. There are ramifications for doing it, you will get locked up, you won’t go home anytime in the near future,” Leyton said.

Bay City Public Schools was not the only district closed Friday. It is one of more than two dozen in mid-Michigan that shut their doors out of an abundance of caution.”

All the schools in Tuscola County were closed Friday.

“Parents need to pay attention to obviously their kid’s social media. Monitor that. And impress upon them, again, from both perspectives, you know the consequences of falsely reporting and then the consequences of having information and not passing it along,” said Mark Reene, Tuscola County Prosecutor.

A girl at Standish-Sterling High School was arrested after posting a threat to social media, according to the Arenac County Sheriff’s Department.

She is also charged with terrorism.

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