LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — The Lafayette Parish School Board increased penalties for students who make terrorizing threats or threats of violence, this after nearly a dozen school threats have been made in Lafayette Parish this school year.
The school board is asking the district attorney’s office to help students understand what their consequences could be if they make any threats against schools.
DA Don Landry was in attendance at Wednesday’s board meeting and says he and the 15th JDC prosecutors are ready to educate students.
Landry was joined by Chris Landry, a city prosecutor, who said his office will take over prosecuting juveniles once a report is made by law enforcement.
“On the school board side and the teacher’s side, the information we need is kids coming to teachers and saying, ‘I’m scared. I have anxiety.’ It’s talking to the counselors to make sure it’s truly causing a disruption because terrorizing has certain elements, and one of those is disruption of the school process. Obviously, the Lafayette High one, that’s a no brainer. That falls under terrorizing.”
He adds once an arrest has been made, the juvenile could spend up to three months either in a juvenile detention center or be placed under 24-hour house arrest with an ankle monitor, depending on how serious the arrest is.
“We now have a new tort of terrorizing that’s called menacing, which makes it a little easier for our office for those ones where the kid writes a note and says, ‘I’m going to shoot up a school.’ But it doesn’t go on lockdown, which causes a minor disruption, but the terrorizing, that’s the felony. That’s the big one,” he added.
Landry says students need to know what will happen to them if they make a threat.
“If we can just educate these young students about some of the consequences they might face, I think that would go a long way.”
Landry says he wants to educate the students by going to schools and talking to students.
“We’d love to come in and just give a quick spiel on the consequences, and the consequences are more than just what the juvenile might face because we called in an improper communication. We want them to realize together with that, you’ve got first responders coming with police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, traversing the entire parish with high rates of speed with lights and sirens, putting all of Acadiana in some type of jeopardy. I don’t think they think about that. They don’t realize it. They don’t realize what affect it might have on the parents, their parents, and their grandparents.”
The behavior policy about terrorism and violence that LPSS added into their handbook Wednesday will go into effect next school year.