September 26, 2019
RE: Terroristic Threatening as defined by KRS 508.078
Our most important function at Franklin-Simpson High School is to provide the safest learning
environment possible for all of our students and school staff members. Unfortunately, in recent years, Kentucky’s P-12 schools have experienced an escalation of terroristic threats being made by students with intent to do harm to either other students or school staff members.
Plainly stated, these are threats being made to shoot people or detonate bombs with lethal intent. In fact, between January 23rd and April 30th of last school year (2018), Kentucky schools experienced (294) terroristic threats that caused widespread fear throughout the school’s community and resulted in total disruption to the educational process. In many of those cases, school officials and law enforcement officials were forced to close schools to investigate the threats that had been made. In other cases, school attendance plummeted for days after the threat was made. Many school leaders have said that the emotional, instructional, and financial impacts of these acts are incalculable.
Terroristic Threatening in the second degree is defined in state law (KRS 508.078) (1) A person is guilty of terroristic threatening in the second degree when, other than as provided in KRS
508.075, he or she intentionally: b) Makes false statements by any means, including by electronic communication, for the purpose of:
1. Causing evacuation of a school building, school property, or school-sanctioned activity;
2. Causing cancellation of school classes or school-sanctioned activity; or
3. Creating fear of serious bodily harm among students, parents, or school personnel
(For the complete text for KRS 508.078 please see below.)
Such threats to our students and school staff are totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated. As a result, the purpose of this letter is to notify all parents and guardians that school district officials (in coordination with responding law enforcement agencies) will pursue immediate legal charges for felony terroristic threatening in the second degree, to the absolute fullest extent of the law, against anyone who makes such threats, including students.
Moreover, we will advocate to our highest ability that the prosecution of these individuals be swift and their punishment be severe. Our approach to eliminating terroristic threatening in our school and district is strong and unwavering, and as a result, it is imperative that you discuss this critically important matter with your student as soon as possible.
School and law enforcement officials are determined to put a halt to these willful acts of terrorism being made toward our students. Please do your part to ensure that your student never becomes a party to such an offense by educating him/her on the seriousness of its consequences. Together we can prevent this unnecessary, dangerous, and disruptive crime from victimizing our schools. We appreciate your partnership in keeping our school the safest place for your student to learn and grow. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me at the school.
Dr. Byron Darnall
Head Learner of Franklin-Simpson High School
Definitions of Terroristic Threatening:
508.078 Terroristic threatening in the second degree.
(1) A person is guilty of terroristic threatening in the second degree when, other than as
provided in KRS 508.075, he or she intentionally:
(a) With respect to any scheduled, publicly advertised event open to the public, any
place of worship, or any school function, threatens to commit any act likely to result in
death or serious physical injury to any person at a scheduled, publicly advertised event
open to the public, any person at a place of worship, or any student group, teacher,
volunteer worker, or employee of a public or private elementary or secondary school,
vocational school, or institution of postsecondary education, or to any other person
reasonably expected to lawfully be on school property or at a school-sanctioned activity,
if the threat is related to their employment by a school, or work or attendance at school,
or a school function. A threat directed at a person or persons at a scheduled, publicly
advertised event open to the public, place of worship, or school does not need to identify
a specific person or persons or school in order for a violation of this section to occur;
(b) Makes false statements by any means, including by electronic communication, for the
purpose of: 1. Causing evacuation of a school building, school property, or
school-sanctioned activity; 2. Causing cancellation of school classes or
school-sanctioned activity; or 3. Creating fear of serious bodily harm among students,
parents, or school personnel;
(c) Makes false statements that he or she has placed a weapon of mass destruction at
any location other than one specified in KRS 508.075; or
(d) Without lawful authority places a counterfeit weapon of mass destruction at any
location other than one specified in KRS 508.075.
(2) A counterfeit weapon of mass destruction is placed with lawful authority if it is placed as part
of an official training exercise by a public servant, as defined in KRS 522.010.
(3) A person is not guilty of commission of an offense under this section if he or she, innocently
and believing the information to be true, communicates a threat made by another person to
school personnel, a peace officer, a law enforcement agency, a public agency involved in
emergency response, or a public safety answering point and identifies the person from whom
the threat was communicated, if known.
(4) Except as provided in subsection (5) of this section, terroristic threatening in the second
degree is a Class D felony.
(5) Terroristic threatening in the second degree is a Class C felony when, in addition to violating
subsection (1) of this section, the person intentionally engages in substantial conduct required
to prepare for or carry out the threatened act, including but not limited to gathering weapons,
ammunition, body armor, vehicles, or materials required to manufacture a weapon of mass
Penalties Violating a Class D felony (adult) 1-5 years imprisonment (KRS 532.020) and/or $1,000-$10,000 fine (KRS 532.020).
Violating a Class C felony (adult), 5-10 years imprisonment (KRS 532.020) and/or $1,000-$10,000 fine (KRS
Violating a felony (juvenile) fine not to exceed $500 (KRS 635.085), with fine assessed at the court’s discretion in lieu of commitment to the Department of Juvenile Justice.