It seems that we, as a nation, are never going to be able to forget the tragedy of Columbine.
A few weeks ago, on Fox-TV 25, I spoke to anchor Maria Stephanos about an Attleboro, Massachusetts student who had just posted on Facebook his plans for a Columbine-style attack at his high school – for which he was arrested. At that time, and on that broadcast, I stressed the need for parents to monitor their kids. It’s one thing for a student to complain to his fellow student about his teachers, but it’s entirely different when you tell the world, on Facebook, about your specific plans to seriously harm your teachers and kill them.
Earlier this week, another student, this time at Stoughton High School, was also arrested for alleged plans for yet another Columbine-type attack. Specifically, the student, Sean Ivaldi, 18, was charged with causing a school disturbance, four counts of threatening to commit Massachusetts crimes — some of which will doubtless involve charges of threatened Massachusetts gun and firearms violations – along with threatened Massachusetts assault and battery with a dangerous weapon charges, and a felony charge of making a terrorist threat. It ha been reported that Ivaldi had outlined a devastating attack on the school in his journal, which was discovered by a school administrator.
Ivaldi allegedly used a “point system” to describe his planned killings – 20 points for murdering a student, 30 for killing a teacher, and 60 points for each police officer. Allegedly, he had also had made a drawing in his journal, which included the words, “enter b-building at 11:09 and shoot the teacher at the desk.”
Based on this information, police found probable cause and made an arrest. He was held without bail.
As a Westwood, Massachusetts criminal defense attorney, I’ll reiterate that “probable cause” is the legal standard required to make an arrest, and this legal standard is easily reached in Massachusetts. And if you’re a parent, I hope you’re listening to me, as I advise you to monitor your kids’ social activities and postings on social media. Getting arrested when you are a teenager can have devastating consequences, and can also lead to jail time – and a criminal record for life, which can haunt a young person forever.