A 12-year-old girl from Fairfax, Virginia has been charged with making threats towards her school after posting a series of emojis along with the words, “Killing. ‘Meet me in the library Tuesday,’” to her Instagram account in December.
The post was accompanied by the gun, knife, and bomb emojis and was picked up by a school resource officer, who launched an investigation that included interviewing students shortly after.
Emojis, or emoticons, are digital visual representations that can be used as icons, usually in discussion. Anything from a smiley face to a Crucifix can be used, and they are frequent among online discussions between millennials and on social networks. In a new update, Facebook recently changed their “like” system to include a set of emoji responses.
After a search warrant was enacted and the twelve-year-old was revealed to be the culprit, she was charged with both threats against the school and computer harassment, despite the “threat” being deemed as “not credible” by a spokesperson for Fairfax County Schools.
“She’s a good kid. She’s never been in trouble before” stated the girl’s mother, who claimed the post to be a reaction from her daughter after being bullied at the school. “I don’t think it’s a case where there should have been charges.”
Not everyone’s convinced. “Questionable act on her part,” commented one user. “She needs to learn a lesson – you cannot and must not make threats like that,” wrote another.
Some people have even criticised the ability to use certain emojis, with one user commenting, “Why are emojis like those even available to use?”
The student, who attends Sidney Lanier Middle School, is said to have made the post under someone else’s name, leading to more complications, and is currently scheduled to appear in juvenile court at the end of the month.
Charlie Nash is a contributor to Breitbart Tech and former editor of the Squid Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington.