Online threats can have a lasting impact on a student's future - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Online threats can have a lasting impact on a student's future

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A Red Bank High School student has been kicked out of school after authorities say he made a threat online.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation notified school officials and local law enforcement and the student was charged with false reporting.
    
Both school officials and law enforcement and those in the judicial system say they take any online threat seriously, even if the student claims to be 'joking.'

READ MORE: UPDATE: Red Bank High student arrested for post made on social media?

They want young people know making online threats can have a lasting impact on their future.

"When that hits social media and we hear about it we react," says Hamilton County Schools Assistant Superintendent Dr. Lee McDade.

The TBI notified the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office Thursday, when it received a tip a male student made an online threat directed toward Red Bank High School. The school's SRO took action.
 
"He notified the principal. The principal got the student. He was detained and questioned in the investigation and taken downtown and questioned further, I believe," says McDade.

McDade wants to be clear, after talking with the student, no one was ever in danger.

"They walked class to class this morning, the principals did, told the kids about it. What happened and what can happen when this happens, even if you're joking."

The administration also sent out a 'Connect-Ed' call to keep parents in the loop. As of right now, the student can not return to school.

"It's a zero tolerance offense," says McDade.

"It appears in this case there was no ability and no intent of actually carrying out the threat," says Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge Robert Philyaw.

Even though the threat was not carried out the student has been charged with false reporting, a felony.
 
"It's treated like any other delinquent offense that we see here," says Philyaw.

Judge Philyaw says there are not sentencing guidelines in juvenile court.
 
"We are a court of rehabilitation not of punishment, by law," says Philyaw.

But that does not mean the student's actions will not have a lasting impact.

"There are repercussions that can carry with you long term."

A juvenile's criminal history is sealed at 18 years old. But that history can pop up again if they pursue a career in the military. Or it could affect future sentencing at the federal level.

"I would encourage parents to insist that they follow or friend their children so that they can see what they are posting," says Philyaw.

The student in this case has the option to appeal the school administration's decision to kick him out of school for the remaining calendar year.

Juvenile court can take a variety of actions from rehabilitation programs to probation.

At the adult level, a false reporting charge carries up to six years behind bars.
 

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