These Teens Learned A Hard Lesson

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

BLOG POST #128: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving teenage boys making threats on social media.

Hurtful Online Comments

A high school girl posted insulting comments on social media against a local 18-year-old boy. He retaliated with a barrage of threatening posts aimed at the girl.

Follow The Leader

Then the boy enlisted two 15-year-old friends to join him in his virtual feud. One of the younger boys [in messages] told the girl he was going to rape her and make her boyfriend watch. The boys threatened her with physical violence which included shooting her and others.

The boys may have received a strong warning had they not turned up the heat on the virtual assault when they posted a school shooting would happen at 1:00 pm on a specific day.

Online Posts Are Evidence Of Wrongdoing

The girl went to the police and showed them the messages.

All three boys were arrested. Two were charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder. All three were facing terrorism-related charges.

Plea Agreements

The oldest teen pleaded guilty to one count of false report or threat of terrorism and agreed to testify against one of the younger boys. He told the judge, “It was not serious, it was childish.” After serving close to one year in county jail, he was sentenced to five months of probation.

One of the younger boys pleaded no contest to reduced charges of attempted false report of terror and was released on a $200,000 cash bond with restrictions to await sentencing. He was to stay at the home of his parents, no cell phone use, no computer use and no contact with victims.

The other 15-year-old’s case was moved to juvenile court where the proceedings are confidential.

Don’t Cross The Judge

The judge canceled the bond and sent the younger boy straight to county jail for three weeks when he learned the boy had excessive absences and tardiness from school, had been caught with a cellphone his parents provided and was active on social media.

At sentencing, the judge showed compassion and told the young boy’s tearful parents, “Prison is life-changing. If he goes to prison, he’ll be beaten, stabbed and raped.”

He further admonished the parents and told them they were enabling their son and doing him no good. And then the judge sentenced their son to one year in the county jail with 340 days credited and five years of probation.

Worth Mentioning: During the time this case made its way through the court system the oldest teen was arrested on unrelated sexual charges. More on that next week.

Here’s my ‘Take Away’ in this case: It’s a recipe for disaster when parents allow their children to be in control. Nobody has ever said parenting was easy. As the judge said, in this case, enabling children does them no good. Sure they’ll stomp their feet, have a tantrum, say hurtful things, and then they’ll accept their parent decision. Stay strong; your children will thank you when they’re an adult.

What do you think about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

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