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Wayne County teen gets jail time for school threat

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

A Canton Township teen has been sentenced to three months behind bars and three years of probation for making a threat against Canton and Salem high schools.

Brendan Sibel, 17, was sentenced Friday under the state’s Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, said Judge James Chylinski of Wayne County Circuit Court. If Sibel successfully completes his sentence without any getting into any more trouble, the four felonies leveled against him will be wiped off his public record. He also has to continue taking his medications and get counseling as well as pay court costs associated with the case.

Sibel, who pleaded guilty to the charges last month, will serve his jail time in the Dickerson detention facility instead of the Wayne County Jail. The judge said he gave the teen jail time to send him a message.

“Part of that is intended to kind of wake you up ... next time you think about doing something stupid, you’re going to think twice,” Chylinski said.

Sibel allegedly made the threats March 5 so he could get out of class. He was charged with two counts of making a false report or threat of terrorism, a 20-year felony, and two counts of making a bomb threat, a four-year felony, according to court records.

Sibel is believed to be among the first local teens sentenced for making school threats following a rash of them in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, school massacre Feb. 14 that claimed 17 lives.

Last month, Metro Detroit police arrested scores of students for making threats.

In the first month after the deadly Florida school shooting, Michigan had 83 threats against schools, the third-highest total in the nation, according to the Educator’s School Safety Network, a national nonprofit school safety organization that tracks and studies threats of violence in American schools.

Michigan law allows the arrest and prosecution of those who threaten violence, whether there was an intent to harm or not.

Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith said earlier this month that his county “has been hit like no other jurisdiction” with 51 people charged with school threats since the Florida school massacre.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said his department has investigated 50 school threats at 25 of the city’s schools since mid-February. Craig said 57 people have been questioned about the threats.

“Some of these young people making these threats think that they can outsmart law enforcement,” Craig said at an April 3 news conference with U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider. “It’s not happening. If you say something or are going to do something, you can’t hide from us.”

Schneider and local law enforcement officials have vowed to get tough with those making school threats.

More students are awaiting trials and other court hearings on charges of making school threats.

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