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No laughing matter: Authorities warn ‘joking’ school threats are not acceptable

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Florida school shooting

On high alert after the deadly school shooting in Florida, local law enforcement is pouncing on any threat to local schools in our area. In the last 24 hours, there has been four in our area. The threats are affecting students and prosecutors and police say they're not being taken lightly.

Squads were present outside of Whitefish Bay Middle School Friday morning, February 16th, and as authorities investigated parents were updated. A message was sent out with an alert that Whitefish Bay police were involved in determining the validity of a threatening Snapchat post from a student. The school asked the child to stay home, and school was in session despite it all -- but the ominous nature of it still raised concern.

Catherine Thomas

"It's instilling fear in people and making people feel unsafe," said Catherine Thomas.

Catherine Thomas' child, went to Whitefish Bay Middle School, and says with the heart-wrenching massacre in Florida, and increase in school threats in our area, a big conversation needs to be had.

"Have people understand these things are serious and as a community we need to work on gun control, need to work on social media management and really being there and monitoring our children," said Thomas.

Lakeview Technology Academy

The illegal and reckless behavior of verbal and written threats also happened at several schools Thursday and Friday, February 15-16, including Lakeview Technology Academy in Pleasant Prairie, East Middle School in Oak Creek and at West Allis Central High School.

Law enforcement is investigating all of the cases. Waukesha County District Attorney Susan Opper, says these threats are no laughing matter.

"We are not treating it as insignificant or kids being kids, that's not acceptable any longer for sure," Opper said. "Even if they say, 'I didn't really mean it,' and we can show that panic or fear was a consequence, we may be able to prosecute."

Opper says the class one felony could carry a penalty of probation up to three and-a-half years in prison, and if police can make a case and sent it to the DA, they will see it to the end.

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