Former judge: those making threats could find lives ‘drastically altered’

Published 12:24 am Thursday, March 1, 2018

In the space of a week, two children and one teen were taken into custody for threatening schools via social media.

While each of the threats was determined to be just a social media post, former District Court Judge Trippy McGuire, who worked extensively with youth, said when young people go to the Department of Youth Services, “life as they know it comes to a screeching halt. Their lives are about to be drastically altered. “

One option judges have, he said, is to send juveniles to the HIT program (Highly Intensive Treatment). The program is a boot camp of sorts.

“Your life changes,” McGruie said. “The U.S. Mail is the only contact with the outside world.”

Parents my usually visit one day a week, but there is no calling and no texting, he said.

“It’s not like adult prison, but it’s drastic,” he said.

In addition to potentially spending time in the Department of Youth Services, McGuire said, at a minimum, those charged – and their parents – could face court costs. If their actions caused damages (costs) for those involved – like overtime for investigators who were called in to work the case Sunday night – they also could be fined those costs.

In addition to the actually costs, McGuire said, there is a “stigma of stupidity” borne by those whose acts land them in hot water.

And even though juvenile records are sealed, they are not sealed to judges in future cases.

Covington County Superintendent of Education Shannon Driver said earlier this week that those who made threats to county schools also face repercussions at school.