As local police investigate ongoing school threats, some push for tougher penalties

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – School threats seem to be part of a new normal these days.

“I have seen a large escalation of these types of events,” said Indianapolis Attorney Jeff Mendes.

With students and staff on edge after the Florida massacre, several local schools and police departments are spending time and resources investigating threats directed at their students and staff.

“They are getting more and more prevalent and it is becoming a really scary situation,” said Mendes.

Sunday, Bloomington police took an 11-year-old and 12-year-old boy into custody after police say the kids posted pictures and videos with weapons on social media and threatened some students. Also, Carmel police are working to find out who made threats against the high school.

“Since 2012, there have been about 400 incidents involving guns and schools. In the last two years, it has escalated further like with what happened in Florida last week,” said Mendes.

Mendes tells us the spike in school threats comes with major consequences, like jail time. If the person who posted the threat is a minor, they could just get probation and then be expelled. The charge will also be removed from their record when they turn 18.

“The penalties as a juvenile are minimal compared to what you could face as an adult,” said Mendes.

If the charge is waived to adult court, the penalties get a bit more serious and could include federal charges.

“In Indiana, we would charge someone with misdemeanor harassment charges for these threats. It could escalate to intimidation charges which can be level 5 or 6 felonies,” said Mendes.

That could mean up to two years behind bars.

For now, local police departments are working with schools on their security plans as officials increase manpower at most schools to try and calm students’ fears.

“Do you feel safe at school? Yes. I normally do. I just feel like there past two weeks were so chaotic and the fights added up and we are paranoid,” said a Carmel high school student.

Right now, law makers say there is no legislation in motion to make tougher penalties but say amendments may be made this session.