Increased school threats means those responsible face serious penalties

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SWIFTWATER, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — At least five school threats have been called into local school districts this week alone, leaving many to ask, what can be done to stop these threats?

Area prosecutors say, the people who make those threats to school districts, like Wilkes-Barre, face serious jail time.

They are putting out the word, a warning that if you make a threat, you will face the consequences.

“We treat every threat as if it’s going to be reality,” said Sam Sanguedolce.

Sanguedolce, the Luzerne County District Attorney, says investigators are laser-focused on any threats directed at area schools.

“Number one: we take all threats seriously. When you look at the school shooting in Michigan, Ethan Crumbley, that was a case where they had signs this might occur and really didn’t take it seriously and let him return to class and you saw the travesty out there,” Sanguedolce said.

Sanguedolce says “threat makers” could face serious penalties. Potential charges include terroristic threats, a second-degree misdemeanor.

“You’re facing up to two years in jail depending on the charges. It could even be more than that because if we get multiple charges you could face consecutive sentencing and that even goes for juvenile cases. They could be put into detention. It ruins the rest of your life essentially. This is on your record,” said Sanguedolce.

Hazleton Area School District Superintendent Dr. Brian Uplinger tells the I-Team, they move quickly, as soon as they even catch a hint, a rumor of a threat.

“Yeah, it definitely is case by case, threat by threat. The situation that comes to our attention. We really have to weigh them out we have to know if they are directed specifically to an area building location, things of that nature,” said Dr. Uplinger.

Parents, such as Amanda, say threats, even those determined to be non-credible, upset everyone involved.

“Our kids need school they need interaction but they also need education right education but also feel safe. That’s priority one,” said Amanda, Parent of Hazelton Area Student.

Sanguedolce says if convicted of making a threat, you may have to pay fines or possibly restitution for the costs of any losses incurred by the district.

Coming up on Eyewitness News at 6:00 p.m. I-team reporter Andy Mehalshick talks to Attorney General Josh Shapiro about school threats and what, if anything, can be done to prevent them.

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