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Legal ramifications students face over school threats

SOUTH GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Even if threats by students don’t turn into acts of violence, they can face serious legal consequences. Making a school threat can carry a lifelong impact for students, especially if they’re older.

Ryan McCall, Associate Attorney with Tully Rinckey, explains, “Making a terroristic threat is a class D violent felony that for someone over the age of 18 would typically carry a sentence of approximately 2 to 7 years.”

Students 15 and younger are typically sent right to family court, but McCall says 16, 17 and 18 year olds could be sent there from county court after discussion among the judge, prosecutor and defense attorneys.

“They would weigh different factors: What was the intent of the student? Was the student being bullied? And was it a fruitful threat? “Were they really intending on doing this?”

The South Glens Falls Central School District is dealing with two students making statements that raised concerns about students’ safety this week. Superintendent of Schools Kristine Orr says they work closely with the school resource officer to talk with students about the consequences before any situation happens.

“So they’re not surprised by it if they get themselves into a situation,” notes Orr. “Unfortunately, some students in every school make bad choices and use inappropriate language that now causes them to be in harm’s way with the police and also with the school district.”

High School Principal Pete Mody says the district has moved towards restorative justice practices so that bad decision making won’t ruin an academic career.

“For us, it’s more about how can we put the student in a situation to take ownership of what they’ve done,” says Mody. “Identify the harms caused, because there are ramifications for our whole building, our whole community, and in light of everything that’s going on, really our whole region.”

Schools hopes parents will continue these conversations at home.

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