Storms possible this weekend

Police warn students there will be severe consequences for fake school threats

DEL CITY, Okla. - Police and school administrators say they won't take it easy on any students found making fake threats in schools.

Three 11-year-olds police found responsible for a written threat at Kerr Middle School in Del City experienced that first-hand.

Police responded to the scene quickly and had the school surrounded, while parents were notified to come pick their kids up.

"Of course we took the threat seriously," Major Ted Kleber, "and we responded with all available officers to the scene. About 15 officers taken from their duty on the streets to ensure the safety of the students and the staff."

When one of the responsible students came forward, it didn't take long to discover the other two involved.

"The note had two different styles of handwriting on it, so we knew two people were involved," Maj. Kleber said, "and the other one knew about it and just played along."

The idea, coming from school threat pranks found online.

"They all thought it was going to be funny," Maj. Kleber said. "They had no idea, none of them had any idea it was going to happen to them."

Mid-Del Schools Superintendent Dr. Rick Cobb said the consequences will be severe.

"We can't really talk about what that is right now, but it's going to be a pretty significant consequence for the students," Dr. Cobb said.

But the legal ramifications are even more frightening for a student, treated by police like any other criminal.

"When we brought them in this morning, they went through being arrested and handcuffed, and talked to," Maj. Kleber said. "They were pretty scared, crying."

Then, they were taken in front of a judge who said they would be sent to juvenile detention. Police said they'll be charged with terroristic hoax - a felony.

"That's when the panic starts to set in," Maj. Kleber said.

Licensed Marital and Family Therapist Mary Lou Tabers said the part of kids' brains that make judgment calls doesn't develop until their mid-20s.

"I don't think any child is exempt from the possibility of doing something when their emotional brain is what's reactive," she said.

That's why she insists parents need to talk to their kids and keep a close eye.

"When parents can't believe that their child would do something because they forget the peer influence," Tabers said. "Peer influence is really big at that age."