Oswego School District 308 Administration and Oswego Police Department shared a message with the district's junior high and high school students Monday, Oct. 15, warning them of potential serious consequences for making verbal threats and for spreading threats via social media.
The administration's and police department's message follow a tumultuous week during which police arrested a suspect in a case in which a Thompson Junior High School student made verbal threats to harm a school administrator; a female juvenile was arrested at Plank Junior High School on a weapons charge for possession of a folding knife; and a male juvenile was arrest in connection with writing a threatening message on a bathroom wall at Plank Junior High School.
The text of the message shared with students Monday reads as follows:
"Students need to understand that there are serious consequences both for making threats and spreading the threatening messages. Consequences could include school discipline and criminal charges. Regardless of your intent, even if your threat wasn’t meant to be serious, it will be treated as though it is. You could be charged with a crime, be faced with a big fine, and be answering to a judge if you forward a photo or message on social media that contains threatening language.
"It is your responsibility, along with all students, staff, parents and community members, to report anything that you hear or see that could cause harm to others. Reporting to a parent, teacher, administrator or even directly to the police is important….but sharing the messages, forwarding through Snapchat, text messages, or any other means is illegal.
"When you hit forward on a threat message, even though you did not write it, you are responsible for your actions and could face school and criminal consequences.
"By sharing threats, you are contributing to the spread of fear, costing a lot of time and resources to the school, the police, and students who are missing important educational time.
"Giving criminals the attention they seek by stirring fear in our schools is not tolerated. This serves as a warning to you, to understand that you will be held responsible for making threats and spreading threats, you will face very serious consequences. Always report any threatening messages, conversations, or concerns to a trusted adult. But think twice before forwarding anything; police and our school administrative team are closely monitoring and you could face discipline and criminal charges."