Nowadays even a passing comment made about school shootings in or around a school is akin to mentioning bombs in or around an airplane. It is nothing to joke about. School administrators and police are going to err on the side of caution in dealing with any perceived threat as no one wants to be held responsible for not doing more in the relatively rare case in which a school shooting actually occurs. The NJ state statute that is usually used to prosecute juveniles and adults for any perceived school shooting threat is Terroristic threats. Note that the statute and its name pre-dated the attacks of September 11 and has very little to do with “terrorism.” The statute reads as follows:
2C:12-3. Terroristic Threats. a. A person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if he threatens to commit any crime of violence with the purpose to terrorize another or to cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or facility of public transportation, or otherwise to cause serious public inconvenience, or in reckless disregard of the risk of causing such terror or inconvenience. A violation of this subsection is a crime of the second degree if it occurs during a declared period of national, State or county emergency. The actor shall be strictly liable upon proof that the crime occurred, in fact, during a declared period of national, State or county emergency. It shall not be a defense that the actor did not know that there was a declared period of emergency at the time the crime occurred.
- A person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if he threatens to kill another with the purpose to put him in imminent fear of death under circumstances reasonably causing the victim to believe the immediacy of the threat and the likelihood that it will be carried out.