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Police charge C-A student with making threat against school

October 30, 2018 07:23 pm

COXSACKIE — A teenager who attends a local high school was charged after making a threatening post on social media, state police said.

The boy, who police said is 17 and lives in Athens, is a student at Coxsackie-Athens High School. He was charged Tuesday with making a terroristic threat, a class D felony, according to state police.

The teen posted a video on social media threatening to blow up the high school on Sunset Boulevard, state police said.

The boy was arraigned, released on his own recognizance and returned to his mother, state police Senior Investigator Pete Kusminsky said Tuesday.

The teen is scheduled to appear in court at a later date where he will be treated as an adult, Kusminsky said.

“The Raise the Age only applies to 16-year-olds,” he said, referring to the state law that treats 16-year-olds as juveniles instead of adults.

The boy shared the video Monday night on Snapchat, according to police. Another student reported the threatening video to school officials early Tuesday morning, Kusminsky said.

The boy was not in school at the time the video was discovered, according to police.

The district responded by ordering a hold-in-place, or keeping students and staff away from a potentially dangerous area, for two hours while a sweep of the school was conducted by state police K-9 units.

No explosive devices or suspicious weapons were found, Kusminsky said.

State police investigators are trying to learn why the boy posted the video, Kusminsky said. He declined to reveal if the boy had any prior legal issues.

The student may need to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, Coxsackie Police Chief Samuel Mento said Tuesday.

“It could have been an impulse,” Mento said. “Generally, with something like this, you look at it globally.”

The school district will follow its code of conduct to deal with how to discipline the student, Coxsackie-Athens School Superintendent Randall Squier said Tuesday.

“We’ll let the school district disciplinary process follow its course,” Squier said. “He was arraigned in court at this point.”

After any threat is made to the school, district officials review school policies and procedures and review ways to improve, Squier said, adding heightened awareness of school shootings is in full gear since the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

“It’s made everybody, in a good way, more aware,” he said. “We tell our families, if you see something, say something.”

Since April, Mento and other police chiefs across Greene County have met with members of the state police on a regular basis to establish a collaborative active shooter response plan, Mento said.

“It’s something that’s a hot topic for all the agencies here,” he said. “I’m sure this [recent incident] will be a topic of discussion when we meet again.”

The C-A school resource officer helped restore a sense of calm, Mento said.

State police have been receiving more reports of threats against schools, but it may be the result of an increase in online posting, Kusminsky said.

“It may just be we’re seeing it more because of social media,” he said.

Tuesday’s incident marked the second time this week state police responded to a threat at a school.

A 16-year-old student at Cairo-Durham High School was suspected of bringing a gun to school, but the resulting investigation revealed the student brought a unloaded BB gun to the high school after visiting the Hudson Career and Technical Center, according to state police.

The student was not charged because of the circumstances of the case and the student’s age, according to state police. Discipline is being handled by the Cairo-Durham school administration, according to police.

To reach reporter Daniel Zuckerman email or follow him on Twitter @DZuckerman_CGM.