Lawyers urge students to take behavior seriously after string of threats

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The Greater Cincinnati Area dealt with yet another school threat Tuesday morning.

Pendleton County Superintendent Anthony Strong posted on his Facebook page that Sharp Middle School received a threat around 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Strong said that law enforcement was on the scene by 7:10 a.m. and by 7:45 a.m. police had a person in custody and the school day resumed it's normal schedule.

The person in custody was never on Pendleton County School property, Strong said.

The Alexandria Police Department says that a Campbell County Middle School resource officer was made aware of a student that posted pictures of weapons and made threats to kill at a previous school.

Officials say that school was Sharp Middle School and Pendleton County was made aware of the situation.

Alexandria Police found that the guns were 'pellet type' and no firearms were found.

The juvenile was arrested and taken to the Campbell County Juvenile Detention Center, police say.

This marks the eighth threat against a tri-state school since Wednesday.

In the days following the Florida school shooting that left 17 people dead, Dayton, Hamilton, Middletown, Little Miami, Lebanon, and Ross schools all responded to threats of violence in the classroom.

Officials say several students have been arrested and charged in those cases, including one 14-year-old charged with inducing panic for a post on social media.

"I think the obvious reason you charge teens in situations like this is because of what we saw in Florida, what we saw at Sandy Hook." said Mike Allen, FOX19 NOW Chief Legal Analyst. "Law enforcement and school officials have to take these things seriously, they absolutely have to. If it's a legitimate case where all the elements are there, you're going to see officers charge on cases like this."

Law enforcement has made at least five arrests in the eight threats against tri-state schools.

Thursday, Warren County Prosecutor David P. Fornshell spoke out on his Facebook page about why they feel the need to take the threats seriously regardless of their nature.

Forshnell said his office made the decision to treat these types of cases as severely as the law would allow, following a standard protocol.

He said some parents, community member, and officer pushed back against the protocol because 'kids say stupid things on social media.'

Forshnell said the people criticizing the protocol seemed to believe that the accused juveniles would never have carried out a violent act at schools and that it was an overreaction by law enforcement.

"Unfortunately, in most instances, we have no way of knowing whether a particular young person is a true threat until it's too late." said Forshnell, "Not all social media postings are as clear as the ones posted by the Florida school shooter appear to be. But our office and the Warren County Juvenile Court are committed to taking every single one of these threats seriously, whether they be ambiguous or crystal clear, and to let mental health professionals assess the level of threat we are dealing with."

The 19-year-old charged with making a threat on social media against Hamilton High School appeared in court Tuesday and was released on a $3,000 bond.

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