Wake County Superintendent Jim Merrill wants parents to monitor what their children post on social media following online threats made this week against two high schools.
Late Wednesday night, Garner police arrested a 17-year-old Garner High School student amid allegations he had threatened on Snapchat to bring a gun to the school Thursday and harm other students. An Apex Friendship High student faces disciplinary action after posting a copycat social media threat against Apex Friendship, according to Lisa Luten, a Wake schools spokeswoman.
In a message posted online Thursday, Merrill said “this is no way to start off a school year.” He warned that Wake takes social media threats seriously and, when feasible, will urge law enforcement to prosecute those who make threats.
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“In our school community we do not consider social media threats humorous, cute, or insignificant,” Merrill wrote in the message. “Please talk with your students and help them understand that they are creating a digital footprint that not only will speak for itself, but will also follow them as they continue their schooling and careers.
“And yes, I ask you to monitor their social media. Young people are committing too many mistakes for which they do not fully appreciate and understand the consequences. Please help them with that understanding.
“Now, let’s get back to why we come to school – to teach and to learn.”
In addition to the recent threats, Wake faced a number of controversies last school year because of social media posts made by students.
In March, three Leesville Road Middle School students were disciplined after they posted a video making derogatory remarks about different racial and ethnic groups and chanting “KKK, KKK.”
An Apex Friendship High student was disciplined for an April Snapchat post that compared African-American members of the school’s step team with freed slaves.