Gun Emoji + 'Gonna Shoot Up the School' = 13-Year-Old's Arrest
In a trend that either proves how far gender equality has come or shows how prevalent school shootings have become, three teenage girls have been arrested for threatening school violence in two separate incidents in Colorado.
The second incident involved a middle school girl posting "I have a gun in my backpack" to Facebook. The first incident is a bit murkier.
Sinister Social Media
The second incident involved a thirteen-year-old female student at Mt. Garfield Middle School in Mesa County, Colorado. According to an affidavit in the case, the student posted a photo of a gun on top of a backpack to her Facebook page, with a gun emoji and the caption, "I have a gun in my backpack." She also told a fellow student as she was leaving a classroom, "I'm gonna go shoot up the school now."
It turned out she took the photo at her dad's house and never brought the gun to school, but she was nonetheless arrested for making the threat in the first place. Facebook threats can get you arrested, although the Supreme Court has ruled that violent Facebook posts aren't a crime unless they are intended as threats. As of last week, the girl remained in custody without bond.
The threat in the first incident was far less clear. What we know is that two 16-year-old female students of Mountain Vista High School in Douglas County were arrested after law enforcement deemed them to have made a "credible threat" against students and staff at the school. The substance or nature of the threat has not been released, but both girls remain in custody and one has been placed on a psychiatric hold.
Also unknown are the charges -- all three girls have yet to be formally charged. But the two from Mountain Vista are being held on suspicion of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder
The Douglas County School District released a letter regarding the incident:
"The Douglas County Sheriff's Office has investigated and confirmed a credible threat to MVHS from two female, MVHS students who planned to cause harm to our staff and students at MVHS this week. According to DCSO, these two students have been apprehended and face serious felony charges including conspiracy to commit first-degree murder."
With so little information about the actual threat available, it's hard to judge its credibility, but the sheriff's office alleges the two had taken significant steps to carry out their plan.
- No Bond for Teen Girl in Mountain Vista High School Murder Plot (ABC7 Denver)
- Teen Arrested for 'Threatening' Cops via Gun Emojis on Facebook (FindLaw's Legally Weird)
- Social Media Threats: Do Emojis Make a Difference? (FindLaw's Legally Weird)
- What Happens If You Make a School Bomb Threat? (FindLaw Blotter)