Twelve-Year-Old Girl Criminally Charged In Virginia For Alleged Threat Using Emoji

Emoji_u1f4a3.svgUnknownWe have been discussing the use of criminal charges against children for pranks and threats in recent years, including a story this week involving twelve year old girls in Florida. In Fairfax, Virginia (where I live and my kids attend public school) a 12-year-old is being charged with making threats against her school using emoji. The girl sent an Instagram post in December that said, in part: “Killing [gun emoji] meet me in the library Tuesday [gun emoji] [knife emoji] [bomb emoji].” Once again, the case raises the question of whether such matters need to be criminalized rather than address through stern but internal punishment.

On Monday, McLean High School (where two of my boys attend) was shut down by a bomb threat.

In this case, a school resource officer from Sidney Lanier Middle School subpoenaed the IP address of the person who posted the message on Instagram and traced it to the girl. There was no evidence that it was anything other than a juvenile posting. However, the girl was charged with computer harassment and threatening the school.

The use of emoji make the case even more controversial as to its meaning and its impact on recipients. Whether such emoji constitute true threats is challengeable.

More importantly, the police concluded easily that this was a real threat. It is the type of thing that juvenile will do. Suspension or expulsion should be more than enough to deter future students. Of course, teens and pre-teens will continue to do stupid things. However, is it really necessary to put these kids through the criminal justice system as opposed to school discipline and action?

Source: Washington Post

27 thoughts on “Twelve-Year-Old Girl Criminally Charged In Virginia For Alleged Threat Using Emoji”

  1. @Prairie Rose

    He vents a lot of spleen. He doesn’t think it will ever change, unless people stop paying black women to be nothing but welfare ho’s. He gets on black men too, but like he says, most black men only have their black mothers and aunties to provide a role model. and all the black women want to do is have sex and fight. Here is one he did yesterday:

    Sad. Sick. Unnecessary.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  2. Squeeky,
    “And white folks can’t say anything about it without getting called “raciss!””

    I agree, it isn’t fair that every concern is misconstrued as being racist. However, I fear there is too much finger-pointing sometimes; that only gets people feeling bad without helping them see how things could be better. That sure won’t inspire anyone to change. I hope Sotomayor fights fair and gets on the case of black men, too. They are not blameless. I could not watch the video, my computer was acting up. Would Sotomayor inspire them to be better men/women, or does he just vent his spleen?

    There are two great books called How Children Succeed and I Got Schooled that explore how different schools (mostly charter schools) have positively affected the education of poor kids. The books did not particularly get into out of wedlock birth rates at these schools or drug use, but that would be interesting to see if those schools were effective at lowering those rates, too. Are the graduates of these charter schools not only more likely to succeed in postsecondary education but also more likely to have stable relationships or better parenting skills?

    In How Children Succeed, a mentoring program was used to help troubled teens, and, at least for the girl interviewed, it really helped her survive a troubled home life and get a steady job.

    Perhaps the principal of University Prep needs to read both of these books. I do not agree with all the proposals, but at least it is a place to start trying to sort out a problem from a systems approach.

  3. @PrairieRose

    I wasn’t accusing you of excusing it. Sorry if it came off sounding that way. I have had Tommy Sotomayor youtube videos running almost non stop in the background for like 3 days now, and the stuff will just make you sick and disgusted and irritable. I wouldn’t even watch and listen to them but I kind of feel it is a duty to understand the problems in black neighborhoods better. He is a black guy who has a lot to say about black women and the problems they cause, and other problems with the feral, drooling kind of blacks. Sometimes the videos are hilarious, but I keep reminding myself that millions of poor little black kids are having to live in these homes with these beasties. And white folks can’t say anything about it without getting called “raciss!” Screw that, I will talk about it, and people can flame away. Oops, there I go getting feisty again.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  4. Good grief, Squeeky. I was not excusing their behavior.

    ‘Rough neighborhood’ may or may not mean a black neighborhood. It means high crime and broken families. There are nearby rough towns that are predominantly white with lots of drug and crime problems.

    I found it interesting that quite a few news articles noted that it is a “prep” school as though the incident occurred at some elite private school. I had not read any articles about the incident til you mentioned it. You wrote ‘prep’ school and I thought Shadyside. University Prep is just part of the Pittsburgh public school system.

    The local news gave more information than the national. I thought the discrepancy was interesting.

  5. @Karen S

    Wait a minute . . . poo is toxic, isn’t it??? OH Noes, you have threatened to send toxic substances to people!!! Paging Homeland Security! Paging Homeland Security!

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

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