The consequences to threats as multiple school threats made in north central Wisconsin

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(WSAW) -- Since the Valentine's Day shooting at a Florida high school, four schools in just the north central Wisconsin area have received threats, all of which have been found to be not credible, though are still being investigated.

Minocqua Police have arrested one minor after several threats to Lakeland Union High School. The other schools in the NewsChannel 7 viewing area which received threats are Rhinelander High School, P.J. Jacobs Jr. High, and a Nekoosa school. Schools in Oak Creek, Madison, Whitefish Bay, and Kaukauna also received threats in the days since Wednesday's shooting.

Threats varied, some being made over social media, written on bathroom walls, or through rumors.

While some students may make threats as a joke or get out of a test, D.C. Everest School Liaison Officer Frank Wierzbanowski said even simple threats come with damaging consequences.

"The first have to take in consideration for the families down in Florida and the other school shootings and how they've been affected by that and the trauma and the tragedy that's been affected by that, so it's really not a joke at all," he urged. "Any type of statement will be taken seriously and the consequences will be appropriate to that matter, so it's not a joke."

Attorney General Brad Schimel echoed that sentiment, saying the legal ramifications can be enormous.

"We still do have the first amendment and people can speak, however when you make a threat that is credible in nature, we can bring charges against you," he stated.

April 1, 2016 a state law was enacted about those who make terrorist threats. It states Whoever, under any of the following circumstances, threatens to cause the death of or bodily harm to any person or to damage any person's property is guilty of a Class I felony:
(a) The actor intends to prevent the occupation of or cause the evacuation of a building, dwelling, school premises, vehicle, facility of public transportation, or place of public assembly or any room within a building, dwelling, or school premises.
(b) The actor intends to cause public inconvenience.
(c) The actor intends to cause public panic or fear.
(d) The actor intends to cause an interruption or impairment of governmental operations or public communication, of transportation, or of a supply of water, gas, or other public service.
(e) The actor creates an unreasonable and substantial risk of causing a result described in par. (a), (b), (c), or (d) and is aware of that risk.

NewsChannel 7 requested information on the number of times that charge has been filed in the state since it was enacted, but we have not heard back.

Officer Wierzbanowski and D.C. Everest Senior High Assistant Principal Todd Bohm said along with legal ramifications, threats can cause emotional trauma to students and staff, especially given today's atmosphere and awareness of mass shootings.

They said D.C. Everest has not received any threats since Wednesday's shooting, and in general, students are very good at speaking up when they see or hear threats or something that doesn't seem right.

"I'd rather be wrong a million times and do a million wrong investigations and find out that nothing was said than to just not pay attention or just not give it the credibility and then have something really bad happen," said Bohm.

Bohm and Wierzbanowski said their district ensures every student has a good relationship with at least one faculty member, helping to curb violent behaviors or encourage students to tell them when they see something wrong.

Schimel said his department is constantly looking at ways to improve law enforcement tactics and improve safety for schools and other venues. A day before the shooting, he said he met with more than 400 police chiefs for a conference talking about school shootings, featuring a guest speaker who is a teacher and lost a daughter in the Sandy Hook shootings.

Schimel added the Department of Justice already has a conference for law enforcement and school administrators scheduled for this summer to tackle the same topic.