Student arrested for threatening principal on Facebook

Student arrested for threatening principal on Facebook

Summary: Police have arrested a 16-year-old from Fort Mill High School in North Carolina for making a threat against the school's principal, Dee Christopher, via Facebook. The message, dated March 3, 2011, reads as follows (the student's original spelling and grammar is left intact), according to Herald Online"My goal is to attend your high school for one period.

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Police have arrested a 16-year-old from Fort Mill High School in North Carolina for making a threat against the school's principal, Dee Christopher, via Facebook. The message, dated March 3, 2011, reads as follows (the student's original spelling and grammar is left intact), according to Herald Online"

My goal is to attend your high school for one period. That would be physical conditioning. Haha, I don’t like the way you disrespected me when I told you that I’m gonna change the world. It’s my choice to let you live. That wasn’t a threat, it was a promise/statement. Take it how ever you’d like to. This is a peace treaty towards you sir. I’m a very smart person, beyond you high school reachings [sic]. Sorry to let you know that but you helped put myself back in line.

The school immediately suspended the student and released him to his father. The Fort Mill Police Department then arrested him for making the threat and creating a disturbance. Officials wouldn't release his name because he is not yet 18 and is thus being charged as a juvenile, but they did search his home due to the severity of the threat and because it was directed at a school official.

At Fort Mill, school policy dictates that a student who communicates a threat to a staff member or teacher can face a range of disciplinary actions from suspension to expulsion. In this case, it's not clear if the student will also face expulsion and if not, how long the suspension will last. Then again, I'm pretty sure he's more worried about the arrest anyway.

Topic: Social Enterprise

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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17 comments
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  • RE: Student arrested for threatening principal on Facebook

    so... if i say "i'm going to kill you!" on my blog... i'ma get arrested? where exactly are our 1st amendment rights, again?
    bc3tech
    • It's about time.

      @bc3tech

      Your 1st amendment right doesn't protect you from threatening others. Or causing panic by yelling fire in a theater.
      osreinstall
      • RE: Student arrested for threatening principal on Facebook

        @osreinstall
        Minor point - the "fire in a crowded theatre" bit is from one of the more pernicious Supreme Court decisions of the 20th Century - Schenck vs United States (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schenck_v._United_States) - in which Charles Schenck was charged with violating the Espionage Act of 1917 by distributing pamphlets and fliers advocating resistance to the military draft in World War One.

        SCotUS upheld the conviction unanimously, and Justice Holmes wrote the opinion, which said, in part
        <blockquote>The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic. [...] The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.</blockquote>
        Basically - if Congress thinks it would be bad for you to say it, your free speech rights don't apply.
        fairportfan
      • RE: Student arrested for threatening principal on Facebook

        @fairportfan
        As it should be. Free speech, even to our founders and their peer citizens, has never meant that you can say anything, anywhere. That is a myth. And public threats are a clear and present danger. An estranged husband can't threaten to kill his ex and kids in front of hundreds of people and expect it not to have repercussions. Someone, somewhere, needs to make that decision. And, for better or worse, the best approach is to have a large body of people who are tied into the legal standards of the day make that decision. So, we trust our government to help us keep things together. That is civilization.
        always-a-geek2
      • RE: Student arrested for threatening principal on Facebook

        @fairportfan

        Don't care where the law came from. It is a good law. Nowhere in the Constitution does it give you permission to trample other peoples rights in the name of it. You have to read beyond the 1st amendment to put it in proper perspective.
        osreinstall
    • RE: Student arrested for threatening principal on Facebook

      @bc3tech you are a complete idiot...that I am allowed to say because it is my opinion but I will not threaten you, other than in the case of self defense. So it is safe to say that you are an idiot...understand?
      Bradish@...
    • RE: Student arrested for threatening principal on Facebook

      @bc3tech The article leaves out if this was a facebook status update (unlikely) or if it was a message to the principal via facebook (likely). If it was a message sent to the principal (as the article implies) then that kid does not have a leg to stand on and the action taken by the school was appropriate.
      athynz
  • RE: Student arrested for threatening principal on Facebook

    Any child this stupid should not be allowed to breed.
    Network Guy
    • RE: Student arrested for threatening principal on Facebook

      @Network Guy
      Can't argue that.
      fairportfan
    • RE: Student arrested for threatening principal on Facebook

      @Network Guy While the kid did not have the right to say what he said I think it's pretty pretentious of you to call the kid stupid and say he should not be allowed to breed. We all do stupid things in the heat of the moment that we later regret. I'm not saying this is such a case but anyone who says they've never done something like this is a liar.
      athynz
      • RE: Student arrested for threatening principal on Facebook

        @athynz Write a threatening note to my principal? No, I've never done that. And I bet a lot of people on this site could honestly say the same. That's not to say I've never done stupid stuff (I've done some doozies), but threaten someone I disagree with? No, can't say I have.
        LeonBA
  • RE: Student arrested for threatening principal on Facebook

    Notice to ALL Public Schools:
    Follow the lead of this school and do not allow any students to threaten, belittle or otherwise intimidate teachers, faculty or staff.
    And for those of you who read and agree with bc3tech, take the time to read the 1st Amendment to the U.S constitution and then take the time to read HOW the U.S Supreme Court has interpreted it because that interpretation is what you MUST abide by. (since you do not seem to already possess basic instincts of respect and dignity)
    rovolet
  • Fort Mill is in SOUTH CAROLINA

    Get your facts straight.
    TrainFreak
  • Problem is, this was neither a threat, nor an intent to harm

    Quote.
    It?s my choice to let you live. That wasn?t a threat, it was a promise/statement.
    Unquote.

    A few unanswered questions are:

    Was this student's page open to public viewing?
    Was this student's page open to Dee Williams' viewing?
    Was this communicated to Dee Williams by this student?
    Does this student have a history of violence?
    Does this student use his or her Facebook account as a personal diary, a semi-private conversation expressing feelings for validation, or a public manifesto?

    Let's assume that this was a semi-private page that this student has been using to discuss teenage feelings of angst etc with peers for validation or perspective. That was a statement of fact. Rather obvious and unnecessary in my humble opinion, but still just a rhetorical statement.

    As citizens, it is always our choice to let those we interact with, or who hold positions of authority over us, to live. It's actually written into the New Hampshire Constitution (as well as several other states iirc) that we have the right to rebellion. It's a stated right and duty in our Declaration of Independence, and trumps even our Constitution (although some Supremes, and many government authorities try to pretend and justify it otherwise).

    Public school principals are government agents. Their actions are subject to legal restraints. But the people they exert authority over have less legal protections that adult citizens. Does a principal, or a teacher deserve to be killed for violating a student's rights? The immediate reaction would be to shout, "NO!"

    But think about it. This "kid" can be treated as a legal adult when it comes to criminal definitions, but isn't allowed full legal rights of an adult. The chances of anyone supportering him or her for legal action against violations by the principal are so rare as to be non-existant. That is the definition of a state of tyranny.

    What this incident shows is there is a serious problem between the principal and this student. It also shows that the principal is more interested in exerting his or her authority to destroy the student, rather than solve the problem, or even to educate the student that there are other, non-violent alternatives that should be explored first. And as always, it sends a strong chill down my spine at the presence of the thought police cruising social networking media.
    Dr_Zinj
  • RE: Student arrested for threatening principal on Facebook

    Not disregarding the offence, I consider the Principal to be also at fault. Why allow a student access to the principals facebook/friends list. Does the primcipal accept anyone as a friend???
    Regards
    mjarb@...
    • RE: Student arrested for threatening principal on Facebook

      @mjarb@... This could be a "public" FB page for the parents to interact with the principal or the kid could have sent a message to him via FB - one can send messages to people one is not friends with.
      athynz
  • and exactly where is the direct threat

    in reading this, i personally do not see where there is a threat. what is written here is factual, at any given time, we can all make a decision to allow another to live or die, and that is not a threat, that is a fact. i see nothing really directly related to a threat on this. not sure what the principal done to this kid, but clearly it upset him. should have just busted the punk in the mouth when it occurred, would have gotten less out of that, than making a statement of fact.
    dosdawg