An 8-year-old boy in Michigan became so irate after his teacher took his phone that he made death threats.
“He was very specific, kill the student and kill the teacher,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard told Fox 2.
“Not only did he threaten to kill the student that he thought had told about him having a cell phone in school, he threatened to kill a teacher that took the phone.”
The sheriff said the threats, made at the International Technology Academy in Pontiac, needed to be addressed.
“That’s pretty out of bounds on any level and that needs to be addressed,” he said.
The Detroit News reported that the threats were made in a note that was found by the teacher, who reported it to the principal.
The principal then alerted school security officers, who passed it on to the sheriff’s office.
The child and his mother were interviewed by police officers and the boy was released into his mother’s custody. School officials declined to say what disciplinary action the child might face while the sheriff’s department confirmed that the boy wasn’t arrested.
“This is going to be taken to the prosecutor for prosecution,” Bouchard said, though he noted he doesn’t want to see young children locked up. He thinks the child should get counseling as well as less severe punishment.
— FOX 2 Detroit (@FOX2News) March 29, 2018
— Donna Cunning (@cunning_donna) March 4, 2018
An on-duty referee at Oakland County’s Children’s Village juvenile facility was contacted by officials but declined to take the boy into custody because of his young age.
Experts advise parents to take great care before buying their children cell phones, especially the smartphones that are ubiquitous nowadays.
Jerry Bubrick, a clinical psychologist and anxiety expert at the Child Mind Institute, said the question isn’t so much about age as it is about maturity.
“I tell parents that it’s not so much about a particular age as it is about a kid’s social awareness and understanding of what the technology means,” Dr. Bubrick said.
“You could have a really immature 15-year-old who’s acting out on the phone, but you give it to him because he’s 15, whereas a really socially mature 12-year-old could handle it better.”
According to a report titled “Kids & Tech: The Evolution of Today’s Digital Natives” released in 2016, the average age that a child gets their first smartphone is 10.3 years old.