A 15-year-old Pasco County boy is facing felony charges.
He’s the first in the area to be charged under a new law cracking down on those who make violent threats involving schools.
Senate Bill 436 went into effect October 1st. It reads that it is a crime to falsely report the use of a firearm.
So even if it’s just a joke, the penalties can be severe.
“Everybody’s talking about it. Some people didn’t come to school because they are worried that it could possibly happen,” said Ridgewood high school student Jordan Riggs.
According to the Pasco Sheriff’s Office, a teacher overheard the student telling classmates not to come Thursday because he was going to shoot up Ridgewood High School in New Port Richey.
The teen had never been in serious trouble before. But now, even though the threat appears to have just been talk, he’s facing a felony. It’s a charge that could effect the rest of his life.
“It’s a tremendous waste of resources. These types of incidents put numerous people in fear,” said Capt. Sharon Foshey.
“Even if it was a joke, I feel like it’s a serious note, so I feel like it should be taken serious,” said Riggs.
The Sheriff’s Office said they don’t like to have to arrest kids for something like this, but they gave fair warning.
The school district publicized the new terroristic threats law and pleaded with parents to talk to their children about it.
“I would compare it to not saying bomb on an airplane,” said Foshey.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, the teen’s mother had warned him not to joke about things like this in the past.
It will be up to the state attorney’s office whether or not to charge this teen as an adult.