Students facing charges following threats in East AL, school security increases

EAST ALABAMA (WTVM) -  The shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school on Feb. 14 sparked a nationwide alert for school safety.

In the Chattahoochee Valley, a number of threats happened over the last week and students are now facing charges.

Starting at Opelika High School,  a student made threats against the school during an online video game chat. The student arrested and charged.

"It's not a joke, it's not a prank,  it's not funny. These charges are pursued vigorously by the police department," says Opelika Police Captain Bobby Kilgore.

Eufaula police arrested two students in the last 24 hours. A fifth grader was taken into custody for making a terroristic threat.  "It is irrelevant to us if these comments are made in jest, mimicry or intimidation. They will be treated seriously," says the Eufaula Police Department in a statement.

An Auburn Junior High student was also arrested for a social media threat. Police questioned the student but there is no word on charges in that case.

Talks of armoring teachers have opinions swirling from Washington D.C. to Alabama's state capital.

The felony charges that students face could hold anywhere from one to five years in prison if convicted.

Parents are talking to their kids about the seriousness of their actions and charges is a message we've heard from police and administrators.

"I would encourage parents to take their phones away from their kids. If they have toy guns or BB guns, they should secure them like they are a real firearm. We've got to step up as parents," says Mark Neighbors, Opelika City School superintendent.

Most of the threats are being dealt with by police and administration and there's been no word of jail time for students charged in these cases. A number of police agencies say this is not something that they are going to let off of.

The increase in security is expected to continue throughout schools in the east Alabama area.

Copyright 2018 WTVM. All rights reserved. | For more news, download the WTVM app here.