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9 Muskegon County kids facing charges for alleged threats

Posted at 10:15 PM, Dec 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-08 22:15:07-05

MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. — After days of district-wide alerts and shut-down schools, families in Muskegon County can now begin to rest easy.

"We've been able to really put a dent in some of the more direct threats," says Muskegon County Prosecutor DJ Hilson.

On Wednesday, Hilson assured parents that the danger against area educators appears largely resolved, after his office authorized numerous charges from disturbing the peace to false reports or threats of terrorism against nine students, ages 12 to 14, for threats allegedly made against six districts.

That includes Mona Shores Public Schools.

READ MORE: Muskegon Co. prosecutor charges 9 juveniles with making school threats

In an email, the superintendent says an eighth-grade student faces a five-year felony after posting a threat to Snapchat late Sunday night. It says he did so because he "did not want to go to school."

"In order to violate the statue, you don't have to necessarily have to threaten with a gun or a knife or a bomb," Hilson explains. "If you use words that suggest that something bad is going to happen or something violent is going to happen, that is enough."

Hilson tells us a special task force created this week to investigate the onslaught of threats found a similar pattern at Mona Shores, saying the accused students used the popular app to indirectly reference some type of violence but really only doing so to miss class.

Oakridge Schools say police arrested a freshman student with similar motives.

Investigators say none of the cases appear to be connected.

READ MORE: 'They think it's a joke!': Newaygo parents not laughing at increase in school threats

"We'll be looking at various levels of accountability whether it's seeking some outside resource help because of mental, other social issues that need to be addressed. Obviously there's always the possibility of some detainment in our youth center or youth home."

Hilson is continuing to plead with parents to talk with their kids.

"Making a threat against the school is not a joke," says Hilson. "It's not a prank; it will bring about the full effect and force of law enforcement here in Muskegon County."

Five of those kids appeared in court Wednesday. With home confinement and strict conditions prohibiting social media use ordered in those cases. Officials say court dates for the four others will be scheduled within days.

Investigators remind people that even sharing social media posts that contain threats can also result in charges.

READ MORE: Parents urged to talk to kids about making false threats

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