‘It should be a little bit more of a punishment’ – Strong Reaction to Swatting Sentence in Northumberland County

LOWER MAHANOY TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- A teenager from Tennessee is charged with calling in a threat to a school in Northumberland County, but those affected by the scare this spring are questioning if the teen's punishment is enough.

The actions of the 17-year-old boy sent police rushing to schools in the Line Mountain School District. The threat was made back in February.

Police and emergency crews believed there might be an active shooter at Line Mountain. There was not. A teen from Tennessee has now been found responsible and is being forced to apologize.

Back in February, the school district received a lot of attention for all the wrong reasons. The district was "swatted," meaning someone made a fake 911 call saying there was an active shooter there.

"Our stress here at the school was great, but I still can't imagine the stress that juvenile put first responders under, and all the parents and families outside of here that really didn't know there was no shooter inside this building," said Line Mountain School District Superintendent Dave Campbell.

Now, a 17-year-old boy from Tennessee is being held responsible for the swatting incident. The teen was in Northumberland County juvenile court this week. A judge put him on probation for at least one year.

Part of the juvenile's punishment is writing letters to all of the victims of the swatting incident. According to officials, that includes three letters, one each to state police, the school, and first responders.

"It should be a little bit more of a punishment. I don't know what the sentence would be, but just a little bit more," said Ann Hynoski.

Newswatch 16 spoke to people with children and grandchildren in the Line Mountain School District. They don't think the punishment fits the crime.

"He's 17, but still, he should be old enough to know better. I wouldn't expect that out of my grandkids," Gary Hynoski said.

"I think maybe he should have been tried as an adult. I mean, he's 17 years old. At that age, you know right from wrong," Virginia Leib said.

"I don't know how any court system could ever put a punishment price tag on that. I don't know if you could ever punish someone enough for putting so many people through that," Campbell added.

In addition to probation and writing apology letters to victims, the teenager must pay a $5,000 fine, do community service, and stay off the internet.

3 comments

  • Maureen Cecelia Auman

    That “boy” is old enough too know better. I fully agree with people saying his punishment should be more because not only did he waste the first responders time and anyone else who had to be there but he disrupted the learning of all of the students. What if there was another important call that was real, the people who were there wouldnt have been able to go to the real problem and that potentially could cost someone their life. He caused a mass panic and that is not okay. In the world we live in today where school shootings is a very real thing, and sadly happens quite a bit, it is NOT something to joke about or make fake calls about. He knew what would happen and he knew what he was doing when he decided to pick up the phone and make that call. He knew that it would cause a mass panic not only for the students but their families wondering if theyre going to see their loved ones again, and for the people who responded to the call wondering what theyre going to go in there seeing and possibly if theyre going to make it home. Yes he got a bit of a punishment but when you look at the big picture of everything his punishment looks like a slap on the wrist. Give him some time in jail and let him see some doctors so maybe they can crack the code on his messed up “joke”.

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