Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

STUDENTS IN MARSHFIELD AND WESTON FACE CRIMINAL CHARGES AND DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS FOR CRIMINAL ACTS INCLUDING CYBER-CRIMES

Massachusetts schools are really not the same place they were when I was a kid.

Let’s take a look toward Marshfield High School. A 17-year-old student (hereinafter, “Young Gentleman”) was arrested yesterday for threatening to kill his fellow student.

According to law enforcement, police were called Tuesday night to investigate a report that Young Gentleman threatened a schoolmate while at school that day. In addition, says police, he is said to have made threats via social media to the school as a whole. In response, the police applied for and received an arrest warrant. Despite the alleged threats, no weapons were found when Young Gentleman was arrested.

Most schools these days do not take such threats lightly. However, THIS school was a school at which, in 2004, two students were charged and convicted of plotting a columbine-style massacre at the school.

They were taking no chances. Young Gentleman was charged with promotion of anarchy and two counts of threats to commit a crime. According to prosecutors, should he make bail, Young Gentleman has bail conditions to help keep the peace.

“Conditions of his release include GPS monitoring, a stay away and no contact order with the victim, weekly reports to probation, remain alcohol and drug free and obey all school rules,” prosecutors said in a statement.

While the court has not entered an order that prevents Young Gentleman from returning to school, the school district itself has apparently not made its decision yet.

In the meantime, Marshfield Superintendent Scott Borstel said that school officials were working with police to “ensure the care, welfare, safety” of students.

Meanwhile, Weston Middle-School has had its own recent issues when it comes to student conduct. Two students at the school have now been disciplined after pouring liquid used to clean whiteboards into their teacher’s water bottle according to school officials.

It should be noted that the intended recipient of the cleaning cocktail did not drink from the water bottle.

Cheryl Maloney, superintendent of schools, said, “It was a poor choice made by a couple of kids…Fortunately, the teacher was not harmed.” She added that “They had no issues or disagreements with the teacher; it was just a dumb decision,”

While the incident had been investigated by school officials, no comment was made as to the nature of the discipline the students received.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Student Crimes

In case you are wondering, criminal charges could have been brought against the students who sought to “spike” their teacher’s water bottle. The fact that the school is treating the incident as they are is rather striking.

As any regular reader of this daily blog knows, threatening to create havoc or violence on social media is illegal on a bunch of levels. Because it is a cyber-crime, it can be prosecuted federally. The threat can also put a great many if fear, thereby creating additional complaining witnesses. As Young Gentleman is finding out, his actions also violated state law.

Of course, he did not need to issue the threats over the computer to get a forced invitation to the criminal justice system.

I have mentioned in other blogs my primary associate, the clever and talented attorney Ian Keefe. We are both grown men. Let’s say tomorrow, Ian decides he has finally had it with me and, angered that I did not return to the office after court one afternoon, greeted me with a threat to take my life.

Assuming that he is quite clearly serious, someone overhearing the threat, or I myself, may call the police and criminal charges can be brought against him. Of course, we are adults and one would imagine we have control over what we say to one another.

I do not know the particulars of Young Gentleman’s verbal threat against his schoolmate. However, we do know that he is a teenager. We know that his grasp of consequences is not at the same level as Ian’s. We actually can prove that now biologically.

However, kid or not, it is not unusual for the authorities to be called and for an arrest to take place. This has especially been true since the popular cry of “Bully!” that has swept the nation in recent years.

If you have not done so yet, folks, it is time to talk to your kids and let them know that we now live in a “no tolerance” society and schools are quite nervous about these things. The fact that the kids in Weston got by relatively unscathed (assuming that they did, of course) should not be a sign that we are lightening up.

We are not.

And once those criminal charges come onto your child’s record…your child has already lost.

If your child is already in trouble, it is time to gain the services of an experienced criminal law attorney to represent him or her. Fast.

For the original story upon which this blog is based, please go to http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1061168483&srvc=rss and http://www.boston.com/metrodesk/2012/10/17/weston-students-disciplined-for-pouring-whiteboard-cleaning-fluid-into-teacher-drink/r1FhfA2RiQgtWg4iJKYQNN/story.html

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