Threats: Zero-tolerance policies must be adopted

Two Fayette County, W.Va., juveniles are in custody after they posted social media threats aimed at that county’s Valley High School. It and another school were closed Monday because of the situation.

Why did they do it? It does not matter. The two juveniles must be punished severely.

Time was when some leniency could be shown in such cases. Students who called in bomb threats or triggered fire alarms could be suspended, even expelled, from school and that would put an end to it. In few such cases did the perpetrators really intend to do harm to anyone.

That time is long past. Too many children have been massacred in school shootings for anyone threatening violence to be let off easy, regardless of their motivation.

Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old who allegedly murdered 17 people at a Florida high school last week, might have been stopped had numerous warnings — including an online vow to “become a professional school shooter” — been dealt with decisively. Now Cruz is in the hands of a system that has become so used to coddling him, his defense attorney genuinely believes she is doing him some good by painting this adult as a scared, remorseful child.

Schools and law enforcement officials simply must adopt a zero-tolerance policy toward potential threats. The sooner juveniles see that being done, the sooner frivolous threats will stop.