NewsRegionOakland County

Children are losing their freedom for alleged school threats

Authorities send message threats are serious and must stop
Posted at 7:12 PM, Nov 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-16 19:12:55-05

PONTIAC, Mich. (WXYZ) — Oakland County Court Referees heard two cases in one day, with serious consequences for children.

A teen arrested by Ferndale Police on Tuesday faced a hearing as prosecutors issued a petition for one count, False Report to Threat of Terrorism, a 20-year-felony.

Another teen arrested by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office for a threat against a school in Pontiac faced a referee for the same charge.

7 Action News listened in as Oakland County Juvenile Court Referee David Bilson held a hearing for the teen accused in the Pontiac threat.

The teen had just spent the night at Oakland County’s Children’s Village, the juvenile jail. Detectives and prosecutors described how the case caused fear, chaos, and forced a school to close for two days pending the investigation.

“I do think that the offense is serious enough that detention is necessary,” said Bilson.

Referee Bilson, after hearing from the teen's parents, detectives and attorneys, ordered the child remain locked up, detained at Children’s Village at least until his next court date which is not yet scheduled.

It is one of far too many such cases.

“We are reviewing more on a weekly basis and those kids are walking away with criminal convictions, so it is no joke,” said Karen McDonald, Oakland County Prosecutor.

The message is these actions are serious. Parents are being asked to talk to their children to drive home the message that children are aware they should avoid saying anything that could be construed as a threat.