ST. FRANCIS, Minn. (KMSP) - At least two students could be facing serious consequences after allegedly making threats against Minnesota schools this week. Prosecutors told Fox 9 cases like these are being taken seriously, especially in the wake of the mass shooting in at a high school Parkland, Florida.
Since the mass shooting, districts and law enforcement across the country have been dealing with potential threats - both very real and others determined to be pranks.
Friday, St. Francis Area Schools canceled all classes and activities after receiving a threat against one of its schools. Police took a 17-year-old student into custody.
Heather Carlson, a mother of a St. Francis students believes the school district did the right thing canceling school Friday out of an abundance of caution.
“I would much rather be safe than sorry,” said Carlson. “A threat is a threat. Our kids’ safety comes first.”
Students in Orono spent a tense Wednesday in lockdown as authorities investigated a threat of gun violence that made the rounds on social media. A student was eventually arrested and charged.
“There should be consequences when people make those threats,” said Paul Young, an Anoka County prosecutor.
Young’s office puts a priority on school safety. He says that even if there is zero intention to act out on a violent threat, the criminal charges can be serious. That includes minors who will likely end up in the juvenile court system, like the suspect in Orono.
“These are not practical jokes,” said Young. “These are not things to do to get out of a test or get back at a peer group. These have huge impacts on people.”
Prosecutors told Fox 9 they are not afraid to file felony charges against 16, 17, and 18-year-olds. Those even younger can find themselves in juvenile lock-up with records that can surface as adults during criminal background checks.