Social media has become a main part of teenagers’ lives, especially with the popularity of photo-share apps like Snapchat. However, when a teen uses these apps to make threats or encourage violence towards others, they may face criminal charges. A Virginia teen recently was taken into custody for a hoax involving school violence at a Virginia high school.
A number of minors were sharing a Snapchat story about a possible armed attack at a high school. The photo showed a number of hunting rifles and a quiver of hunting arrows, with a caption warning students at “MHS” not to go to school the next day. A minor’s mother contacted police when her son showed her the post. Schools across the country with the initials “MHS” became concerned and took precautions.
When the police got involved, they traced the photo to Virginia and determined that the photo was referring to Monticello High School in Charlottesville, but that the threats were fake. One teen is facing a Class 5 felony charge for threatening to harm those at the school. If convicted, he could face anywhere from one to 10 years in jail.
The photo itself was traced to an 18-year-old boy. According to the boy’s mother, the boy had taken the photo before a recent hunting trip, but that another teen added the threatening caption and re-shared it. The boy apparently was an avid hunter and had never attended the high school in question. Police confirmed that the boy was not involved in the threat.
When a teen faces felony charges, it can impact their whole lives and affect their reputation for years to come. A qualified criminal defense attorney can help minimize the impact of these charges.
Source: New Hampshire Union Leader, “Manchester police beef up Memorial High security over Snapchat threat,” Jan. 9, 2018