What may be considered just playing around or trying to impress others when it comes to threatening comments or weapons, whether toy guns or real, can cause more than school disciplinary action, Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington says. It can also end up getting a student arrested.
Last week, two teenage boys were arrested in separate incidents at different schools for inciting violence and carrying a toy weapon that looked like a real gun onto a school campus. Fortunately, the School Resource Officers and school officials took preemptive action to avoid any potential problems.
“The Bossier Sheriff’s Office will take every threat seriously…because it just might be real,” said Sheriff Whittington. “In this day and age, you can’t be too cautious. We know parents expect a safe learning environment for their children, and I commend the teachers and School Resource Officers for preventing anything worse from happening.”
The two incidents involved a 16-year-old boy from Butler Educational Complex who previously attended Airline High School being charged with terrorizing after he posted comments on a Twitter account for students at Airline, inciting them to threaten students at another high school in using a multitude of weapons. He even posted a photo of numerous guns as example weapons. When the teen spoke with detectives, he admitted to the post, but said it was just a joke.
In a separate incident at Elm Grove Middle School, a 13-year-old boy was charged with illegal carry of weapons on school property after he was caught with a .177 caliber air pistol. The boy carried the “toy” pistol in his backpack, and during one of his classes, he pulled the gun out to show other students. The teen then threatened the other students if they told anybody about the pistol, which can easily be mistaken for a real gun, that he would shoot them.
Sheriff Whittington reminds students and parents that it’s not a joke to threaten other people at school, home or anywhere, even when you are doing so behind the backdrop of a keyboard or cellphone screen.
“Young people who think it is okay to bring a real gun or even a toy pistol or pellet gun to school need to realize that these toys guns often look just like the real thing,” said Whittington. “The message is clear – DO NOT bring ANY type of weapon to school.”