Police have responded to another threat of violence posted on Snapchat, the latest coming Thursday night.
While the investigation deemed the post a joke and that the 17-year-old female student of Timpanogos High School had no access to a gun, it was at least the third such incident in the state in two days.
Fellow students saw the threat and told their parents, who notified police.
Also on Thursday, Springville police arrested a 17-year-old boy who made threats involving a gun on Snapchat. And the night before, Heber police arrested a 15-year-old boy who posted a video of himself holding an assault rifle and warning students not to go to school the next day.
The Springville and Heber incidents were also found to be sarcastic threats made in poor taste. However, police are considering the threats more than a bad joke. In all three instances, police recommended charging the students.
In the most recent incident involving the Timpanogos student, Orem police found the post didn’t reach the level of a terroristic threat, and therefore could not place the girl into a juvenile detention facility. However, police recommended misdemeanor charges.
The girl was suspended from school and additional security was put in place at school Friday, police said.
The charge of terroristic threat, which only the Springville student was charged with, is rare for a juvenile in Utah, but does occur and is on the rise so far in 2018, according to state data. From Feb. 2, 2013, to Feb. 1, 2018, 31 youths were brought to juvenile court under the charge.
The most was in 2013, when the statute was used 13 times. In 2015 and 2016 it was only used twice per year, but last year it was used six times. In less than three months of 2018, the charge has already been used four times.
Terroristic threat can be charged as a second- or third-degree felony, or a class B misdemeanor. When used in juvenile court, the maximum penalty a youth can face is a stay in a secure care facility until the age of 21.