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. Wait a minute. So whenever I’ve used that steaming pile of poo emoji, it was an actual threat to send a steaming pile of poo? Who knew they were so literal.

    Obviously, I’m glad they investigated this and discovered it was not an actual threat. Since there was no danger, this should be handled by the schools. I hope this young lady learns to make better decisions.

    Isaac – “Having taught in the worst of the worst schools, there are those kids that are simply marking time and it is all a teacher can do to keep them from robbing the teaching from the other kids. Sometimes it is what it is.” What do you think the chances are the kids who refused to participate in their education will eventually blame someone else for their poor career chances – “the rich”, “the white guy”, or whatever else fits their blame game? Sometimes, young people just make bad decisions and refuse to take advantage of the free education laid before them. Sometimes they get stuck with parents who do not care about their education, their character development, or they make other mistakes.

  2. In another case, the judge found for several youth who sued over injustice. Attorney fees awarded…$50,000 and 5 kids received $500 each.

    So let’s see….a school or police department supposedly missteps. Some “officer(s) of the court” steps up and sues on behalf of the kids and gets paid 100 times more than an offended one or just 20 times more than the collective group.

    I’m not much into conspiracy theories, but this could make for a good John Grisham book. Nobody really gets hurt, and it keeps attorneys for both sides employed. Only the public has to pay…or the insurance co. which passes the cost on to whom?…the public.

    A teacher complains in an email to the principal, email revealed under FOIA, child offended, attorney steps up, suit filed, finding against school, attorney gets good payday “bonus”, public’s attorneys get salaries, court gets paid, pittance goes to kid, teacher gets kickback, public pays. Everybody happy…until levy goes up.

    A rainmaker’s delight.

  3. @prairie rose

    So what??? You say, “rough neighborhood.” Isn’t that just code talk for “black neighborhood, and we don’t even expect black folks to behave themselves any more. That would “racisssss”. Got 2 kids you can’t afford, and you’re on welfare. No problem! Go pop out a few more that you can’t take care of! Us taxpayers, aka yo “White Daddy”, will take care of you.

    This is whats wrong with Black America, and white libs want to blame white privilege, the KKK, the GOP, anybody in the universe except the black welfare ho’s themselves. Black welfare ho’s, aka “Hillary’s firewall”, are destroying the black community, to the extent there even is a community. Watch Tommy Sotomayor discuss this particular brawl, the latest in numerous ones:

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  4. Got my mojo working, but it just won’t work on you
    Got my mojo working, but it just won’t work on you
    I want to love you so bad, I don’t know what to do

    Going down to Louisiana to get me a mojo hand
    Going down to Louisiana to get me a mojo hand
    I’m gonna have all you women under my command

    Got my mojo working
    Got my mojo working
    Got my mojo working
    Got my mojo working
    Got my mojo working, but it just won’t work on you

    I got a gypsy woman givin’ me advice
    I got a gypsy woman givin’ me advice
    I got a whole lottsa tricks keepin’ her around.

    –Muddy Waters.

  5. Paul

    Having taught in the worst of the worst schools, there are those kids that are simply marking time and it is all a teacher can do to keep them from robbing the teaching from the other kids. Sometimes it is what it is. However, no kid for something of this type of ‘mistake’ deserves to be charged criminally. This type of over kill works against involving the kid in society. The kid simply looks at the system as stupid and drifts further away. You have to keep the kids as close to the school as possible. This idiot administrator does so much more harm and absolutely no good.

  6. Squeeky,
    “Like the prep school brawl a few days ago in Pittsburgh.”

    It is magnet school in a rough neighborhood. The Fox News and New York Post articles I saw did not discuss this. The Hill District, where the school is located, has a 40% poverty rate.

  7. When you create “constitutional” precedents in law, it is never about just one case, legal precedents can affect thousands of case for decades to come. The vitally important question is if we water down First Amendment precedents in this one case, what are the unintended consequences?

    For example: If we water down the First Amendment in this case then why not ban violent movies? Violent video games? Violent sports like boxing or football? What about violent TV shows like CSI, NCIS, Blue Bloods or other shows that show graphic violence or gory images on Grey’s Anatomy? What about showing TV shows and movies about the Bible?

    For those that oppose the Second Amendment and want to ban all guns (outside of constitutional boundaries) wouldn’t violating the First Amendment (by banning violent TV, movies, video games, sports, etc.) help reduce violent crime also?

    If Americans want a unconstitutional “nanny-state” there are lots of bureaucrats that would love to fill that role, is that what we want? It is never about just one case, legal precedents affects many more issues.

  8. Paul – my philosophy when I was teaching was “I cannot teach you, if I have suspended you.” So I tried hard to keep my kids in class. I do not know if emoji constitute a real threat?

  9. Virginia has one of the worst justice systems in the entire United States – not surprising at all.

    This is the same state that made “cohabitation while unmarried” a felony. The same state that outlawed mixed race marriages. Just recently, also the same state where the Virginia Supreme Court ruled defense attorneys and defendants weren’t allowed to use some exculpatory evidence at trial, including some police reports. Virginia also operates a blacklisting system modeled after the Cold War era “East German Stasi” which mushroomed after 9/11.

    This state also forces the wrongly accused (where there is no evidence of guilt) prove their innocence with a “Writ of Innocence”. In Virginia it’s a “guilty until proven innocent” justice system like foreign banana republics, that’s the real story here.

  10. Include the parents more. If there is one parent then call in grandma or grandpa. Include a shrink if they are wacko.

  11. I substitute teach middle school so at times I see the best and worst in kids. Of course there are several kids who love to take advantage of the sub, most kids are great. I have never sent a kid to the principal. I always feel it serves everyone much better if I just keep the room in order by constantly asking the kids who are acting up to straighten up their act. But here is the thing, frequently I have other teachers come in and tell me to not hesitate to send the rowdy kids to another room or the principal. I see in them a resignation that some kids are dolts and should be dealt with harshly. I can see their point. Day after day some of these kids continue to be a problem and the parents don’t seem to care at all. So what is a teacher to do? Suspend the kid? Its like summer vacation for the kid and many parents don’t seem to care. I agree cases like this one presented should not have gone the criminal route. But after seeing what it’s like in schools, we are not doing this right by a long shot for a lot of kids. What’s the answer?

  12. Share your Ouija Board experience. National Geographic deals game test. The devil is in the details.

  13. This is what administrators, who somehow without a functioning brain, do to solve problems. It is very Sicilian Mafiosist. If the finger is damaged, cut of the arm, just to be sure. It would be interesting, but near impossible, to compare this idiotic behavior by McLean High School, with the rational behavior of the thousands upon thousands of other public and private schools in the nation. This is the same with police actions that regularly end up in the public eye as compared with those that don’t. Some sort of comparison contrast analysis would give us an idea of the size of our problem. More simply said if that is all one is exposed to then that is what one assumes is the norm.

  14. What is an “emoji” ? over a decade ago my bil got s u spended for saying “he should be shot”….fifteen years later he hasn’t shot anyone. Probably never will. But “he” isnt inc h arge anymore either. Sometimes we need hyperbole….
    .like the current crop of republicans can suck my dick. Emoji i don”t have one. But i have a middle finger. And that is w h at america is telling die bold. Not only do we have a middle fingure die bold…..we have a trigger finger. And thats from your from your non ivy l eagues peer turley. Do you know who die bold is? What they do foreign owned is voting machines. Die bold.

  15. The most surprising part of the story is where Turley admits to sending his kids to public school.

    That’s abuse.

  16. Overly politically correct reaction brought on IMHO by all the liberal hysteria over guns. We are becoming North Korea, where we must react in a politically approved matter to everything. And you can bet your bottom dollar that real threats in the school will go un-noticed and un-reported on. Like the prep school brawl a few days ago in Pittsburgh.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

Comments are closed.