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WI Attorney General wants harsher penalties for school threats

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MADISON (WKOW ) -- After a Germantown student made gun threats against two schools in Washington County, the Attorney General is advocating for harsher punishments when a student makes a threat.

Attorney General Josh Kaul tells 27 News threats towards schools are on the rise and wants to see legislation to expand the types of charges someone can face after they make a threat.

Kaul's comments come after a student made gun threats early Tuesday morning to Germantown High School and Kennedy Middle School, which police ultimately deemed not credible. It also follows two shootings at Wisconsin schools in Waukesha and Oshkosh.

Under current law, a gun threat against a school is not considered a felony unless it's considered a terrorist threat. Kaul said each case is based on the severity of the threat, but most of the time students can face misdemeanors. 

Kaul said not all threats lead to criminal charges. He wants stiffer penalties for those who are convicted.

“I'm hoping that we will see draft legislation in this session that's going to expand the types of threats that can lead to charges when it comes to students and juveniles, people who end up in the juvenile system,” he said.

In previous sessions lawmakers have introduced legislation to give harsher penalties to those who make school threats, charging a student with a felony instead of a misdemeanor.

However, the proposal has faced opposition as some believe a felony is too harsh for minors who might not understand the severity of the threat they make.

Emilee Fannon

Capital Bureau Chief

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