Are Teens Really Getting Message?

Two teenagers who allegedly sent threatening messages to another girl who was the victim of sexual assault last summer have learned their lesson, their attorneys said Thursday. Let’s hope other teenagers learn from the episode, too.

After two Jefferson County boys were sentenced a few weeks ago for assaulting the Weirton teen, two 16-year-old girls used social media to post threatening messages to her, authorities say.

On Thursday, Jefferson County Juvenile Court Judge Samuel Kerr placed the culprits on probation and ordered each to perform 40 hours of community service. The sentences could have been much harsher, their attorneys recognized.

Both girls “learned a valuable lesson,” one of the lawyers commented.

Good. But this is far from the first time Ohio Valley teenagers have misused the Internet in ways threatening and/or harmful to others. To our knowledge, the courts have been lenient in every case.

At some point that will change, because judges will decide young people still are not getting the message. If harsh sentences are necessary to get it through teenagers’ heads that the Internet is not a license to abuse other people, so be it.