Ponchatoula High takes Social Media too far
MARCH 15, 2012
[PONCHATOULA] On Sunday Mar. 11, Ponchatoula’s Police Department was contacted by several parents concerning the safety of t there heir children regarding a Facebook threat which is supposed to be a positive social media. Last week, was a minor fight at Ponchatoula Junior High, where a person was injured with scissors with the effect of small scratches that caused this major Facebook threat. This threat was made over a girl who broke up with her boyfriend. Layrisson said “Ponchatoula High is outside city limits and their department doesn’t have jurisdiction over that, but they do work closely to the sheriff’s office when incidents like this come up because we want to protect our children no matter where there at.”
Springfield had a similar incident Richard Gainey, 17, and Taylor Thomas, 18, who gave their address, and did post on Facebook, “advised that shooting would occur at Springfield High on Monday”, said Chief Criminal Jason Ard. Teens told officials, “This was a prank and there never was any intent to harm anyone,” Ard said. Both Gainey and Thomas were charged with terrorizing and arrested the same day with a $25,000 bond.
“There wasn’t an actual threat on Facebook saying I’m going to shoot up the school or kill you that’s why he wasn’t arrested, but if there was concrete evidence that the sheriff’s office could have found the same thing would have happened,” said Layrisson. Social media has its advantages for law enforcement but the news media that continues to show school violence fuels the fire or give the kids ideas.
The sheriff’s office sent more security to Ponchatoula High on Monday, as well as the police station at the junior high in case the incident from last week came back up, or any new incidents occurred. Once all of the attention is placed on a certain thing, it may encourage others believe they’re cool and make them want to participate. Layrisson said “we need to do more to educate our students about social media, the dos and don’ts. I’m glad Springfield was able to make the arrest because we need to make some examples out of these kids to let them know how serious it is when they put something of that nature on social network.”
Student names from Ponchatoula High couldn’t be released because they were juveniles.
Sorces: Chief of Police: Bry Layrisson, WUSD.com