SCRANTON, Pa. -- There have been about a half a dozen bomb threats made to West Scranton and Scranton High schools in the past week - all found to be not credible, and all traced back to five students. Two girls and three boys have been charged. All of the students are either 14 or 15 years old.
Now, they're facing the consequences -- felony counts of terroristic threats.
"If you are adjudicated in juvenile court, there are consequences to it. A felony of a third-degree carries a maximum penalty of up to 7 years," attorney Corey Kolcharno said.
Besides potentially getting locked up, a felony charge can also impact a teen's future education, career opportunities, and even the ability to serve in the military.
"There will come a time when they will need letters of recommendation or references from teachers and school counselors, and how do they get that with that type of background?" University of Scranton director of school counseling Julie Cerrito said.
And even once in college, a student with a felony conviction may still struggle. Security clearances and background checks are often required for internships or field-based experiences.
Getting a conviction expunged from your criminal record is neither automatic nor guaranteed.
"So, you could be fighting an uphill battle to try to get what you believed was maybe just an innocent mistake by a young individual removed from their record, but it may follow them forever," Kolcharno said.
Five of the six threats made to Scranton schools in the past week came from the state's "Safe 2 Say" app.
So, for students who interact on social media every day - it's important to stop and think about what's at stake. A small text could change your life.
"Everything we do these days leaves digital imprints. Even though you think you're doing something anonymously, it's very, very easy to go back and track and check to see where those are coming from," Cerrito said.