MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Extra law enforcement kept tabs on Manassas High School Thursday, after police say a 17-year-old student threatened to shoot up the school on social media.
Memphis Police said the girl posted the threat on a fake Facebook profile, then alerted her mother, saying she couldn’t go to school. Police said they found it was the girl herself who posted the message.
Authorities said the student admitted to making the post as a joke, but counselors said this is no laughing matter. They reminded parents and children of the ramifications when their children make such threats, as they carry the risk of both school suspensions and legal charges.
“Something like this, you have to take seriously, you can’t take lightly,” Brandy Flynn, a Memphis mental health specialist, said.
Flynn applauded the quick thinking of the girl’s mother, who notified police after learning of the post.
“For her to go through this extreme to create a fake Facebook page, it makes you wonder what was her true intent: was it a prank, was it a way for her to just stay at home, or was it something that she really wanted to do?” Flynn said.
Memphis Police issued the girl a juvenile summons for false reporting and she’s scheduled to appear in juvenile court in the next month. A district attorney spokesperson said staff will determine whether the student will face charges as an adult.
“It just should teach us that parents, teachers, school counselors, and administrators, we all need to be on one accord,” Flynn said.
In response, Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray tweeted Thursday morning, ‘when you threaten your school, you threaten your future’.
The news also stunned and angered Manassas parents, as the principal sent automated messages throughout the day.
“I didn’t send my girl to school today because there’s too much of that stuff going on already and they need to get rid of social media if you ask me,” Aspen Whitaker said.
“Very nerve-racking, nervous, makes you want to panic, but, you know, I trust the school,” Sharonda Thomas said.
In Tennessee, as well as bordering Mid-South states Arkansas and Mississippi, juveniles who are accused with threatening to blow or shoot up a school can face felony charges.
In SCS, students could also face up to a 180-day suspension.