Friday, February 01, 2013

Gun-related tweets during a school lockdown drill: Not a good idea

Two students have overshared on Twitter, and because of that, were charged by police on Friday. The charge: sending gun-related tweets.

It's akin to joking about having a bomb on an airplane. Joking about guns in school is never a good idea, and even less so in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. In this case, the students were participating in -- wait for it -- a lockdown drill to practice student safety during a shooting.

The two students, one 18-years-old and another, younger student, attend Beaver Area Academic Charter School in Beaver, Pa. The 18-year-old, Jared M. Harris, is being charged with making terroristic threats; the younger student, a minor, is being charged in juvenile court. The drill, and the tweets, took place on Jan. 24 at Beaver High School, but charges were issued on Friday.

Beaver Area schools superintendent John Hansen says the charter school students were participating in the drill because the school uses a building on at Beaver High School's grounds.

During the drill, Harris made one tweet about carrying guns to school. He also posted that students were in the high school gym's "crow's nest," or radio announcing space, adding "come massacre us."

An anonymous tipster alerted the school district; police pinpointed the miscreants within ten minutes of receiving the tip. No weapons were found, police said.

Notably, the school district recognized that the tweets were a joke, and with that counseled parents to speak to their children about the use of social media, using automated phone calls.

Hansen said:
Everybody has a heightened sense of things going on [in the aftermath of Sandy Hook], and kids are kids.

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