A middle school student was sentenced Monday to three days of detention for sending an image of a gun to a fellow student after threatening to shoot up an Oak Harbor school, according to court documents.
Following a bench trial Jan. 23, a judge found the 13-year-old boy guilty of harassment – threats to kill, which is a felony charge.
A girl at North Whidbey Middle School was walking to class last March when she overheard the boy tell his friends that he was getting a gun and planned on shooting up the school, according to the prosecution.
The girl said she thought it was a joke until about a week later when the boy sent her an image on Snapchat of him holding what appeared to be a handgun, with the caption “look what I got,” court documents state. Snapchat is a cellphone messaging app.
The boy’s father told police that it was a BB gun.
The boy admitted to sending the image but said he never made the threat to shoot up the school, according to court documents.
Island County Deputy Prosecutor Tamara Fundrella said the prosecutor’s office has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to threats involving guns and schools. As a result, she argued at sentencing against a deferred disposition, which would mean the charge is dismissed if the juvenile completes requirements of community supervision; the majority of juveniles who commit first-time offenses receive deferred dispositions.
The boy had no prior criminal history.
Fundrella said one of her concerns was keeping the conviction on the boy’s record until he’s 18 because of the seriousness of the case.
Judge Vickie Churchill agreed and imposed the prosecution’s sentencing recommendation.
In addition to detention, the judge ordered 100 hours of community service and a year of community supervision. She approved a no-contact order and ordered the boy to receive a mental health evaluation and follow any treatment recommendations.
Fundrella said the girl changed school districts because of her fear of retaliation.