Officials: Intimidation law too soft

If a principal at a Franklin school finds a note written by a student saying a shooting is planned, school officials likely would suspend or expel whoever wrote it.

But under Indiana’s intimidation law, police wouldn’t be able to arrest the writer, nor could the county prosecutor charge anyone with a crime.

Under state law, people can be arrested and charged with intimidation if they threaten a specific person, either out of retaliation or to force them to act against their will, or with the intention to evacuate a building, such as a school, or a vehicle. Those specific requirements limit the ability of police and prosecutors to investigate and punish people who make threats at schools, Franklin Deputy Police Chief Chris Tennell and County Prosecutor Brad Cooper said.

The only way a student who makes a threat could be charged with intimidation is if police or school officials could prove the note was written for a specific person for a specific reason, such as a teacher who had given a student a bad grade.

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