Police Respond to a Threat on Milford High School
On February 21, 2014, a 14-year-old freshman from Milford High School made a bad decision. He posted a message on Kik, a social media app, threatening to shoot up his high school “like Columbine.” The student (whose name is being withheld) was in advanced placement classes and has no prior juvenile record. According to the Oakland County Prosecuting Attorney, he is interested in Nazi, Germany and identifies himself as Adolf Hitler on social media.
One of his friends saw the post and told his parents, who contacted the Milford Police Department. The Oakland County Sheriff’s Department got a search warrant and removed several firearms from the student’s house. Then the student and his parents were interviewed at the Highland Township substation.
Milford High School’s Response
The school is reserving judgment against the student. He has been barred from the school during the investigation. The principal also sent out a message to parents:
I want to make you aware of a situation that we have been managing over the past 36 hours. Over the weekend, an MHS 9th grader posted a series of violent threats via the social media app “Kick.” One of the students who received the message informed his/her parents. The parent then contacted the Milford Police. Working in conjunction with Police Liaison Eric Delanoy, the Oakland County Sheriff conducted an investigation. As a result of the investigation, the student was taken into custody Saturday evening, where he remains. The student will have a hearing in juvenile court involving the Oakland County Prosecutor. While this information is not being released to the media at this time, it is possible that students will know about it and be talking about it.
I want to assure you that the systems we have put in place worked as they should. Students who were aware of the threats did precisely the right thing and our relationships with our law enforcement agencies allowed us to share information to aid the investigation and protect the safety of our staff and students.
Please feel free to contact my office if you have any questions.
Kevin McKenna, Principal
Milford High School
What Will Happen to the Student?
The student appeared in Juvenile Court on a charge of making a false report or threat of terrorism, a felony carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. Because the student was only 14 years old, he faces time in a juvenile detention center, possibly until he is 21 years old. Other penalties could include probation, community service, fines, and costs. If found responsible, the student will probably also be expelled from Milford High School.
This is an example of what happens when students, parents, schools, and law enforcement act appropriately in response to threats on a school. Students and parents responded promptly to a real threat. The matter was handled professionally by the police. The school has allowed the prosecutors to go forward with the investigation before assigning discipline. With each organization playing its proper role, they were able to maintain the safety of the school while preserving the students’ rights within the juvenile system.
Lisa J. Schmidt is a juvenile defense attorney at Schmidt Law Services, PLLC, in Ferndale, Michigan. She represents students in suspension and expulsion hearings and in juvenile court. If you or someone you know is facing juvenile charges, contact Schmidt Law Services for a consultation today.