What are the consequences if a student makes a school threat in the New River Valley?

New River Valley News

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR)– Schools and parents across the nation are on high alert as school threats are on the rise. Six threats were made this week across the Commonwealth, including in Franklin County.

School officials say a possible threat was reported at Franklin County High School on Wednesday, Dec. 8. Meanwhile, at South Hampton High School, a student allegedly brought a gun to school.

“A lot of the times you are going to see juveniles bringing knives, or they will bring a firearm,” said Will Clemons, a New River Valley attorney.

Clemons says he can’t even remember the last time a student brought a weapon to school in his area.

However, even a threat carries severe consequences. A threat or an act of violence at school is a felony. After an arrest, students can spend weeks in custody.

“When dealing with a juvenile typically the most they can get is 30-day detention,” said Clemons.

In some situations, if the student has a violent past, they can be committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice.

“What typically will happen with this is a probation officer will do a social history. What a social history is…is a background for the juvenile as well as his family. They will go and look at his schoolwork, and basically the whole background for this young person,” said Clemons.

Once they end up in a juvenile detention center, three steps come next:

  1. The police will investigate the complaint.
  2. A judge will decide if they’ll be held until their trial date or released to their parent or guardians.
  3. Depending on how serious the offense, youths can be tried as adults — facing “adult jail time.”

Clemons says the local court services unit has many tools to assist juveniles with counseling. A lot of time community-based service organizations step in to try and help avoid jail time.

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