Prosecuting Attorney Explains Online School Threats Could Mean Prison Time

BENTON COUNTY (KFSM) -- With multiple students being arrested for making threats to school districts around Northwest Arkansas, the Benton County prosecuting attorney explained Friday afternoon what the consequences of doing this could be.

Nathan Smith explained he has prosecuted multiple people over the years.

In Benton County, the charges the suspect could face include terroristic threatening, communicating a false alarm or threatening a fire or bombing.

“All of those are felonies and I think what’s important for folks to remember is those are extremely serious things to do and they carry with them, even if the person making the threat is a juvenile, potentially going to prison, the loss of someone’s liberty," Smith said.

Some of the recent arrests made were in Fayetteville, Hackett and Berryville.

Fayetteville Police said the student they arrested told them that they sent the post to a friend as a joke.

For police, there is nothing funny about these posts.

“Especially the times that we live in, these things are taken extremely seriously and it’s a crime to create that kind of alarm within the community,' Fayetteville Police Sergeant Anthony Murphy said. "I mean there were parents and children that were scared to go to school today and that’s not acceptable.”

Smith said in some cases if it is a juvenile making the threat, they could be charged as adults and spend time in prison.

Even though they did not receive a threat, Rogers Heritage High School did cancel a pep rally Friday afternoon because of rumors around the area.

They had added patrols from Rogers police as a precaution.