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Prosecutor’s Letter to Parents Regarding Threats of School Violence

Dear Parents:

Few events hit home for students and families like a school shooting. When students learn of these
events on television or on social media, it is natural for them to worry about their own school and
their own safety. Unfortunately, some students see these tragedies as an opportunity to gain notoriety
and make threats against their schools, teachers, and classmates.

Since the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, my office has received in excess of fifty-five reports from law
enforcement agencies of students using social media to make threats against schools. Many of these
threats turned out to be made by students who claim they were justjoking or playing a prank. I want
to be very clear: these threats are no joke, and this behavior will not be tolerated.

Over the past six weeks in Macomb County:
• 51 students have been charged;
• Each defendant has been charged with False Threat ofTerrorism or Threat ofTerrorism;
• Both of these charges are felonies that carry a sentence or up to 20 years in prison.

While the punishments dictated by the criminal justice system are stern, students may face additional
consequences, including:
• Loss of scholarships and federal aid;
• Denied college admission;
• Being required to disclose pending cases or criminal convictions on job applications.

I urge you to talk to your children about the appropriate use ofsocial media, and the lasting
consequences ofmaking threats against our schools. Please stress that there is nothing humorous
about threatening to shoot up a school, and there is no such thing as ajoke involving the threat of
mass murder.

All threats will continue to be taken seriously and prosecuted to the fullest extent under the law.
By working together, we can provide our children the safe schools they deserve.

Eric J. Smith
Macomb County Prosecuting Attorney

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