(Source: Raycom Media)
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) –
Since the school shooting in Parkland, Fl. there have been numerous false threats made against Southeastern North Carolina schools.
A total of seven students, ranging in age from 12-15 years old, have been charged with making false reports concerning mass violence on an educational property, a Class H Felony under North Carolina law.
A Class H Felony holds a maximum sentence of 37 months in prison.
“Doing those kind of stupid things carry quite a heavy sanction in North Carolina,” said attorney and former state senator Thom Goolsby.
If convicted, the students and their parents could face serious penalties, including both criminal and civil charges.
“What’s interesting about all of that too is that parents can be held responsible for negligent supervision of minors when they’re doing certain things, calling in threats and hoaxes,” said Goolsby.
Parents and legal guardians can be held liable for up to $25,000 in damages. A parent or guardian may also be held civilly liable for the negligent supervision of a minor.
In addition to potential jail time, being convicted of making a false report results in an automatic 365-day suspension from school.
A conviction also results in a loss of one’s driver’s license or permit.
“You can injure a lot of people, people panic, there can be stampedes, all sorts of things. You can be liable for the civil damages, your parents can be liable for the damages if they didn’t supervise you properly. In addition, suspended from school for a year and lose your license. And have a record that keeps you from getting in to a good college or getting a good job.”
Being convicted of this crime also has the potential to stay on a student’s record, which could impact his or her future drastically.
“It’s possible depending on how they’re prosecuted. If they’re prosecuted as juveniles in court, not likely. If they’re prosecuted as adults then yes, it is a part of your record. And particularly any type of violent crime getting that expunged is very difficult to do.”
Goolsby said the General Assembly has tightened it’s stance in dealing with threats of mass violence on educational property, but also understand how a conviction could negatively impact an adolescent’s future.
“Our legislators realize kids our kids, and we don’t want people to have records that follow them forever if they’re not committing an actual violent crime and nobody’s hurt. But the ramifications for you and your family are potentially severe. It’s a very stupid thing to do. You can really hurt people and you can really scare people.”
Copyright 2018 WECT. All rights reserved.