A former Hunting Hills High School student who made threats online last month apologized in court on Thursday.
“I think I just said a very dumb thing in class,” said the 16-year-old, who pleaded guilty to uttering threats in Red Deer provincial court.
The teen said he did not want the incident to ruin his future, adding, “I am very sorry for what I have done.”
Judge Jim Glass sentenced the youth to a conditional discharge with 12 months’ probation and 50 hours of community service. If he completes his probation and community service he will not have a criminal record.
Glass noted the youth did not have a prior criminal record.
“It was quite an entrance to the criminal justice system,” he said.
“This appears to be a one-time thing and I hope for you that it is.”
The teen, who can’t be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, was among three charged by RCMP after threats were posted online to shoot up a March 2 Bike-A-Thon event attended by 500 students.
Hunting Hills High School was placed under lockdown and students and staff were evacuated. Police searched the school but found nothing before arresting the three teens.
Crown prosecutor Brittany Ashmore said a fellow student grew concerned and notified authorities when the teen threatened to “shoot up the school” and showed her an Instagram chat log where he talks about it with two friends.
The teen had made similar threats in the past which were not taken seriously. When she suggested he was not serious this time either, he said, “No, I’m going to do it.”
Ashmore said while the teen may never have intended to follow through with the threats the other student believed him.
As well, the threats were made just a little over two weeks after 17 were killed and another 17 wounded in a shooting at a Florida high school.
After his arrest, the youth was immediately remorseful and wrote letters of apology to the high school, Red Deer Regional Schools and RCMP while still in custody.
Defence lawyer Paul Morigeau said the teen is a “good kid” and good student but had been going through a “rough patch.”
He has been treated for depression in the past and remains in counselling.
“It may well be he was seeking attention,” said Morigeau.
The Instagram posts were “fairly goofy and innocuous,” he said. “There was no intention and no realistic threat within that.
“He was foolish. He should have known better.”
The teen, who was expelled from school, is doing well in his studies through extended learning, has lined up a part-time job, and hopes to become a lawyer, he said.