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Parents demand answers after Columbine-like threat at middle school

"Statements or threats by themselves are generally not criminally actionable," Cooney said.

GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY (WPBN/WGTU) -- The Grand Traverse County Sheriff's Department has completed its investigation into two East Middle School students.

Back in March, the 7th graders posted disturbing messages and images on social media referencing the Columbine shootings.

According to the sheriff's department's report, investigators found evidence of online searches for "#columbinemassacre" on Instagram, and subjects like "top 15 chilling last words before death" on Youtube.

The report also highlighted students' conversation on Instagram, which inluded "making Columbine look like a joke". Deputies say there were referenced to specific students and teachers.

Several parents have contacted the 7&4 newsroom, wanting to know why Prosecutor Bob Cooney isn't pressing charges.

While Cooney understands why parents would be concerned, he says he isn't pressing charges because words alone are not criminal acts.

"Statements or threats by themselves are generally not criminally actionable," Cooney said. "There has to be some sort of preparation or attempt to carry out those threats."

Cooney said there is no evidence they actually tried to carry out a plan.

The district couldn't speak specifically on what they did in this case. But they say the situations involving student safety or behavior that requires more than a ten-day suspension includes a disciplinary hearing.

"All of the information is shared with the hearing officer," said Jame McCall, TCAPS associate superintendent of student services. "Choices at that point can be anywhere from returning to school to a full expulsion."

McCall says most of the time, she represents the district as the hearing officer.

She assures that TCAPS parents that their students are safe.

"We take every precaution necessary to make sure that our student population is safe," McCall said.


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