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Minors Facing the Consequences of Making Threats

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EDINBURG – A McAllen Independent School District student faces felony charges after he made threatening posts on social media.

The school district was made aware of the hoax messages Thursday morning.

Hours later, the juvenile was taken into custody and transferred to Judge Mario E. Ramirez Jr. Juvenile Justice Center.

McAllen ISD sent out a note to parents notifying them of the threat. In it, they said following the shooting at a Florida school this week, they take these threats seriously.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS looked into the prosecution in Hidalgo County for cases involving minors who make threats.

Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez said students should expect consequences for making any kind of threat. He says several cases have already been prosecuted.

Rodriguez says once a student is in custody for allegedly committing a crime, they are scheduled for a detention hearing.

At the first hearing, the prosecution will request a psychological evaluation on the minor to spot a pattern in their behavior or previous offenses. Rodriguez says the evaluation helps prosecutors compare offenses to mental state.

Rodriguez says even though juveniles are treated differently through the judicial system compared to an adult, it doesn't mean the case gets dismissed automatically but only that different options exist.

Depending on the crime, if the student complies with what they are asked to do by the court, they have the opportunity for the crime to not show up on their record, he says. 

However, if they fail to comply or have other issues, the charge can be upgraded; depending on the severity of the threat.

Rodriguez wants students to know support is within their reach, starting at home, in the classroom or community.

“Thank God that nothing serious has happened up to today, but we take these matters very seriously,” said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez encourages students to seek guidance if they feel they are struggling so they can voice their concerns to a counselor, teacher or guardian, instead of turning to social media.

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