Mental Health Crisis of Youth in America
The prevalence of school shootings in recent years has shined a light on the mental health crisis among students, helping school districts and staff members address and prevent such tragedies.
According to 2009 - 2019 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one in three high school students had experienced constant feelings of sadness and despair in 2019. Compared to the numbers in 2009, there has been a 40 percent increase.
TikTok Challenge Causing School Shooting Threats
However, some students are taking advantage of the mental health climate of U.S. students by making alleged threats of shootings and violence at schools across the country.
On December 17, 2021, school districts from many states issued warnings, canceled classes, and increased security in response to anonymous and vague shooting and bomb threats have all been part of a TikTok challenge called, “National Shoot Up Your School Day” (Although TikTok claims it has found no evidence of such threats originating on its platform). The threat consists of claims of multiple school shootings taking place on that Friday.
As a result, Schools in California, Minnesota, Missouri, and Texas closed for the day because of the alleged threats. On the other hand, schools in Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania increased their presence of law enforcement officials.
Education Week reports that there have been 32 school shootings in 2021. A K-12 school shooting database from The Center for Homeland Defense & Security shows there have been 64 on-campus gun incidents across the nation since the beginning of September.
On November 30, a mass shooting occurred at Oxford High School near Detroit, which resulted in four students being killed and seven people suffering injuries, including a teacher. This recent incident, along with the online challenge and recent statistics have all caused schools, staff members, and parents to remain on high alert.
Making Threats Toward Schools is a Federal Offense
According to the FBI, alleged school shooting threats and other pranks fall under the categories of terrorism, which is considered a federal crime. If a student or any other person is charged with terrorist activity or any other terrorist-related offense, a conviction can result in a maximum federal prison sentence of five years, or they can face local or state charges.
If you have been charged with a federal crime in Massachusetts, call our Boston legal team at Brad Bailey Law at (617) 500-0252 or fill out our online contact form today for a free consultation. Lead Attorney Brad Bailey is a former state and federal prosecutor with more than 50 years of trial-tested experience!