Students who make school threats could face prison time

Nick Kendall

Contributing Writer

Students who make threats against P-12 schools in Kentucky could face one to five years in prison under a new law. 

Trent Lovett, superintendent of Marshall County Schools, sent out a letter to parents and students stating terroristic threatening will not be tolerated in the district.

The letter was posted on Facebook by many parents in the Marshall County School District.

The state of Kentucky requires principals of all public P-12 schools to send letters to parents, students and faculty about KRS 508.78, which explains terroristic threatening and it consequences.

The statue states that a person is guilty of terroristic threatening when he or she intentionally threatens to commit any act likely to result in death or serious physical injury at any school function; makes false statements that he or she has placed a weapon of mass destruction on school property; or places a counterfeit weapon of mass destruction on school property. Read the full statue HERE

“Therefore, the intention of this letter is to notify all of our parents and guardians that school district officials (in coordination with responding law enforcement agencies) will pursue immediate legal charges for terroristic threatening in the second degree (which is a felony), to the absolute fullest extent of the law, against anyone who makes such threats, including students. Moreover, we will ask that the prosecution of these individuals be swift and their punishment, severe.”

Terroristic threatening in the 2nd degree is a Class D Felony, punishable by one to five years in prison. 

On March 26, during the regular legislative session, Gov. Matt Bevin signed House Bill 130 into law, which amends the terroristic threatening statute to include public gatherings and places of worship. 

Lawmakers enacted such a bill to protect students against violent crimes like the Marshall County High School shooting on Jan. 23, 2018, that killed two students, Bailey Holt and Preston Cope, and injured 18 others. 

Fellow sophomore, Gabriel Parker was later arrested and charged with two counts of murder and 12 counts of first degree assault. His trial is set to begin on June 1, 2020.

The first day of school for Marshall County students is Aug. 8.