Students suspended after threat posted to social media

threatpost

This photo, posted to social media site Instagram, shows two girls pictured with plastic guns standing on either side of a handwritten poster board sign that reads “I hate everyone, you hate everyone. Let’s shoot up the school at homecoming.” The girls, Findlay High School freshmen, were suspended after the school treated the Instagram post as a threat. The photo has been blurred to protect the girls’ identities, which have not been reported at this time. (Provided to The Courier)

Charges may be filed against two 14-year-old girls after they posted a photo seen as threatening regarding a school shooting on social media.

“The case is under investigation and charges are going to be (filed),” said Findlay Police Lt. Robert Ring.

The police were called to Findlay High School yesterday at 8:42 a.m. concerning the social media post, Ring said.

In the photo, the girls are pictured smiling with plastic guns standing on either side of a handwritten poster board sign that reads “I hate everyone, you hate everyone. Let’s shoot up the school at homecoming.”

Above the Instagram post were the words “If school shooting was a sport. America would get the gold (skull emoji)”

Though the case is under investigation, and Ring said it seems the sign was a prank.

“One female had a break up and the other had issues as well, so they decided they were going to ask each other (to the homecoming dance),” Ring said.

Findlay City Schools Superintendent Ed Kurt said a student reported the photo to school officials and that they have found it is linked to a social media movement or website called “I hate everyone.”

“It seems that this movement is encouraging individual who feel alone to join together,” said high school Principal Craig Kupferberg in an email statement to the school mailing list. “This is being extended to the world of homecoming where you will hear some say something to the affect, ‘I hate everyone, you hate everyone, let’s go to homecoming together.’”

Findlay High School’s homecoming game is Sept. 30 and the dance is Oct. 1.

If there is enough evidence, the investigating officer will request charges through the juvenile court, probably for disorderly conduct for causing alarm, Ring said.

“There doesn’t appear to be any legitimate threat or concern to anybody,” Ring said. “There is no evidence they’ve got any weapons or pose any threat to homecoming.”

The guns in the photo were a cap gun and an airsoft gun, both toys, Ring said.

Though Kurt wouldn’t comment on discipline of the students, he said that when the photo and threat came to the schools’ attention yesterday, it was immediately dealt with.

“We’ll handle our procedures as we normally do and make sure everyone is safe throughout the entire homecoming process,” Kurt said.

The girls have been suspended and will meet with Kurt next week to discuss possible expulsion, said Findlay City Schools Superintendent’s secretary Meagan Brown.

Kupferberg sent out an email at 12:45 p.m. today.

He wrote “The situation is under control and the incident is being handled appropriately with the safety and security of our students, staff, and visitors always the focus.”

He said “It is a way of asking someone to the homecoming dance.  Unfortunately, these two students took that message to a completely different level that is completely inappropriate.”

The police were called immediately, as were parents and guardians of the students, Kurt said. There was no lockdown at the school or no threat to safety yesterday, he said.

“Through the entire process and investigation, there was no immediate threat,” Kurt said. “I think in this situation the students went too far.”

Kurt said he didn’t know of any threats of the kind in the past and said he notified the staff that the event occurred, and let them know that the district doesn’t “see an immediate threat.”

The picture was not taken during school or on school grounds, he said.

“In today’s time you can’t make threats like that,” Kurt said.

Courier reporter Danae King is working on this story.



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