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Sterling Heights

Teen arrested for Facebook threat against school

September 19, 2012

Sterling Heights police say a former Jeannette Junior High School student didn’t think it was a big deal when he posted a threatening comment on Facebook — but he does now.

Police arrested the 14-year-old, who is not being identified due to his age, at his father’s home in Royal Oak Sept. 14, one day after the boy allegedly made a threat against his former school and classmates on his Facebook page.

According to Lt. Kevin Reese, the student “stated that he would return to the halls of Jeannette and everyone would die.”

A current Jeannette student spotted the message and alerted her mother, who called police, said Reese.

Sterling Heights police contacted Utica Community Schools immediately and began investigating, locating and apprehending the teen at his father’s house, where he now lives, attending school in that area.

The teen was arraigned in juvenile court Sept. 14 on charges of making a terrorist threat and using a computer to commit a crime, 20-year felonies, said Reese.

At press time, he remained in custody without bond at the Macomb County Youth Home, said Reese.

“The kid cooperated with us; (he) didn’t think it was as big a deal as we were making it — but that changed,” said Reese. “In the world we live in today, we have to take these threats seriously. If we don’t and something happens — can’t do it.”

Though police are and have been viewing the message as a “credible threat,” Reese noted that it appears the teen had “no means whatsoever to carry it out.”

Nonetheless, kids need to understand that such actions have consequences, and the fact that the judge denied bond “shows that everyone has taken it seriously,” he said.

According to Reese, Sterling Heights police had not had any previous contacts with the boy, who allegedly indicated he posted the comment because he “had problems” with some kids at Jeannette, though Reese said it did not appear to be a bullying-type situation.

Asked whether UCS had ever faced a similar threat, UCS Director of School/Community Relations Tim McAvoy said, “not to this extent.”

“As more students use social media, parents and schools need to work together to enforce appropriate social discipline,” he said. “This was a police issue, and we worked very closely with the police. And that level of partnership assures the safety of our schools and students.”

Staff Writer Brad D. Bates contributed to this report.

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