Just Joking? Juvenile School Threat Cases in Ohio.
When Your Child Is Suspected of Illegal Activity at School
If your child has been charged or is under suspicion at school for a school threat or any other illegal activity, it is important that he or she obtain an attorney as quickly as possible. There are many cases where a child is caught utterly by surprise to find that a statement or social media post intended as a joke becomes the subject of a police investigation and subsequent charges. Judges and prosecutors in local juvenile Courts have made very clear, public statements indicating that “I was only joking” will not be enough for a juvenile to avoid charges.
If Your Child is Called to the Principal’s Office
Very often, school administrators are trying to get to the bottom of an incident that may have involved your child or many children at school. Many times, a school resource officer is asked to be present while the principal talks to the child. This situation can make the child very vulnerable later being charged unfairly, without having his/her rights adequately protected.
If the Principal’s Office Calls You, the Parent – Ask to be Present for Any Questioning
The school will usually call a juvenile’s parent or parents prior to asking the student questions about possible illegal activity, such as threats or other common juvenile offenses. If you receive such a call from a school administrator, try to find out as much as you can about the nature of the trouble the school thinks your child has been involved in. Tell them you do not wish to have your child questioned outside of your presence, and call us right away. The school may not allow an attorney to be present for any hearings at the school, but the child is in no way obliged to talk to school administrators or police resource officers before talking to an attorney.
If School Administrators Try to Reach You After School Hours
Often, during the course of an investigation, additional children’s names come up and the school then wishes to interview them. This may lead to phone calls from the school while your child is at home. Again, in this case, try to find out as much as you can before answering the school’s request. Also, talk to your child before allowing an interview with school officials. If you believe your child has been involved in or has knowledge of illegal activity, you should call a lawyer prior to consenting to any interviews by school administrators or resource officers.
Resist the Temptation to Encourage Your Child to “Tell All” Before Talking to an Attorney
Very often, in an effort to be helpful, or hoping to quickly put matters behind them, parents encourage the child to tell school officials everything they know and everything they have done. I understand, and I respect where this is coming from. Parents wish for their children to be honest and share what has happened in any incident. They expect that the child will have to face the appropriate consequences for his/her actions. However, parents and juveniles often feel blindsided by the actions taken by schools and Courts when dealing with suspected illegal juvenile activity. Parents might be expecting the child to get a warning, some community service, and school suspension or suspension from sports and extracurricular activities. What often ends up happening is a trip to the juvenile detention center, and charges brought against the child. Sometimes the child winds up with very serious charges which could cause trouble later when applying for jobs, schools, and scholarships.
Juvenile Defense Lawyers in Ohio – Warren, Butler, Montgomery, Greene, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton
If you need a juvenile defense lawyer in Ohio, give our office a call. We have offices in Lebanon, servicing the greater Cincinnati area, and in Beavercreek, servicing the greater Dayton area. For greater Cincinnati, call Jim Dearie at our office. For greater Dayton, call John Fischer at our office. It will cost you nothing to give us a call and get an idea if an attorney is right for your situation.