School threats come with costly consequences

School threats come with costly consequences

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - There’s no denying that school threats have been a big topic of conversation lately, especially in Southwest Louisiana.

Last week, 7News addressed 10 threats that were made at local schools since the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year and how the Calcasieu Parish School Board is addressing them. Since then, three more threats were made.

Katelynn Lee knows firsthand how recent school threats have impacted her family.

“My brother wanted to go to the middle school dance and he didn’t get to go because my mom was like all these threats have been happening at the middle school in Moss Bluff," said Lee. "My mom said 'I don’t want you to go because you don’t know what could happen.”

It doesn’t stop there.

“My poor little grandaughter, this is her first year at Barbe, I just got a chance to ask her how school was going and she said 'grandma, you know all that stuff is going on in the news..and not long after they had the gunman at LSU and her brother goes there so that scared her too," said concerned grandparent, Betty Wyble.

School threats have become more of a cause for alarm as gun violence has shaken schools and communities around the country, but Sheriff Tony Mancuso wants to reiterate that it will not be tolerated in Southwest Louisiana.

“I’ve said it over and over again. I urge our parents to sit down with your child and have a frank conversation about the consequences. This is not a prank that you’re just going to get suspended from school and be done with, it’s going to have lasting ramifications,” said Mancuso.

William Sommers who serves as Director of the Calcasieu Juvenile Detention Center said kids need to understand that by making threats against a school or any public place, they’re basically taking away their freedom.

“You’re going to lose what time you want to eat..we’re going to tell you when to eat, we’re going to tell you when to shower, we’re going to tell you who you can visit, you’re also going to lose your phone," said Sommers. "You’re going to lose those social media privileges. You don’t get them here.”

Last school year, the Calcasieu Juvenile Detention Center detained 12 juveniles on terrorizing charges. So far this year, they’ve detained 6.

Sommers said having a terrorizing charge on your record isn’t something that just goes away after you turn 18. It can affect everything from the type of job you apply to and college admissions.

Local officials hope that by stressing the importance of the crime, the young people who are doing them will hopefully understand the consequences and ultimately the lives that they’re impacting.

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