Twinsburg High School's Columbine-Style Shooting Threat Deemed A Hoax
Late last month, a teenage boy posted a photo of the Columbine shooters on an Instagram account in an effort to spread alarm and scare two students who allegedly bullied and teased him at Twinsburg High.
Twinsburg police used an IP trace –with cooperation by a local internet provider – to reveal the teen’s address. The boy confessed to creating the Instagram account -- as well as making up a false assault claim weeks earlier-- in order to scare his bullies.
“Alleged bullying is not a legitimate, credible self-defense committing another crime or serious misbehavior,” says Ken Trump. He's President of National School Safety and Security Services, a consulting firm based in Cleveland.
Trump says since Columbine, schools and communities can’t afford to shrug off any talk that suggests violence. He says in the first half of the 2013-2014 school year, there were more than 300 documented threats against schools nationwide. More than a third were electronic.
“And when threats are sent electronically, they accelerate very rapidly throughout the school community," explains Trump. "(They) create a great deal of anxiety, trigger parents flocking to the schools to get their kids. Lots of misinformation and rumors. And that makes it much more difficult for school and law enforcement officials to investigate both the threat at hand and manage the misinformation, rumors, and community anxiety.”
Meanwhile, the Twinsburg teenager who posted the threatening photo to Instagram will be charged with both making false alarms and making a false report.
A school administrator declined to say whether the boy was expelled, suspended, or back in class, citing the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Since this report aired, it's been learned that the student has not been detained for his charges, but will have a pre-trial hearing in Summit County Juvenile Court in November.