Dumb Stunt On Snapchat Sent Two Teens To Prison

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

Robin Lyons BlogBLOG POST #191: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific crime involving two teens who thought a fake school threat would be funny.

Not Funny

The two boys, one age 18 and the other 19, previously attended the high school they targeted. But it was all to pull a prank on a friend.

They created a Snapchat account in the friend’s name. Grabbed some photos from the friends’ social media accounts and posted them to the fake Snapchat account. One photo was of the friend holding a gun—another person’s gun.

The teens posted a photo with two assault rifles on the fake account and asked, “Which one should ‘I’ use Monday XX?” Referring to the high school, they’d once attended. Then they sent the friend a message and said, “haahaa, look what we did with the picture.” They’d also sent a message to the friend’s ex-girlfriend and told her, “You’re the reason im killin everybody make it stop,” and “send nudes and ill let you live.”

Didn’t Do Their Homework

Two things the teens didn’t know: 1. Their friend was in rehab for narcotics use and had no access to a cell phone or the internet. 2. Monday was a school holiday.

Law enforcement treats all threats as viable until proven otherwise and even though there was no school on the day they’d claimed there would be a school shooting this threat was no exception. Snapchat cooperated, identified the location of the computer where the fake account had been created.

Adult Consequences

Both boys were arrested, charged, and later pleaded guilty to the federal crime of cyberstalking.

At the sentencing, the judge said, “The defendants’ callous and alarming conduct, coming only days after the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, needlessly put people in fear of a similar tragedy and expended precious law enforcement resources.”

The judge sentenced one boy to 21 months and the other to 27 months—both in federal prisons. And they ended up in different prisons.

Sadly, children don’t understand the severity of their actions when they post something threatening on social media—even if it’s a joke.. This case is a prime example.

What are your thoughts about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

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2 thoughts on “Dumb Stunt On Snapchat Sent Two Teens To Prison

  1. Please don’t take what I’m about to say as a “bleeding heart liberal” comment, because what these young adults did was no doubt horrible and I don’t advocate coddling. But I think our knee-jerk reaction to imprison kids like this is wrong. Two years in Federal prison is taking two kids who are already, no doubt, troubled and lacking in empathy, and setting them on a course of destruction. Their lives, after prison, will be exponentially more difficult as they attempt to find jobs and fit back into society. Maybe a better approach would be counseling and community service. Put them in touch with people who’ve been victims of school shootings and people who’ve been victims of cyberbullying and cyberstalking. Help them see the effect of what they’ve done, and then help set them on a better course for their futures.

    *End of soapbox rant.* 🙂

    • Robin Lyons

      Thank you for your “soapbox rant,” Darcia. I agree with you. With the cases I’ve researched, it’s apparent it depends on what state and what judge issues the sentence. I’ve seen counseling and community service. My hope is to spark conversations between parents/grandparents and children to help them under the possible consequences for their actions. I believe if these two boys had known they might go to prison, they’d have decided it was a dumb idea and not done what they did.

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