Words matter, and in this day and age, some words carry significant power. A celebrity may find an entire career destroyed with one poor word choice. Employees may find themselves out of work after telling an ill-advised joke. A Tennessee teen is learning that the words he used to play a prank have led to charges of juvenile crimes.
The 17-year-old student was arrested this week after an investigation that began when someone came across a social media post that stated the anonymous poster's intentions to kill people at a specific high school. The post apparently gave details, such as the city, state and time of day of the planned attack. When the principal accessed the post, he reportedly found that the poster had deleted it and replaced it with a message that indicated a group of five were plotting to kill many people at the high school.
After reading the post, the principal contacted authorities who traced the posts to the male student. Police arrested the student and charged him with two counts of making false reports, which is a felony. Police do not believe he had accomplices, and the student insists the posts were a prank. Understandably, authorities take seriously any threats of violence directed at a school. This student faces disciplinary action at the school, which will likely include expulsion.
He also faces felony charges that could result in severe penalties and a record that will follow him the rest of his life if he is convicted. Juvenile crimes can lead to a chain reaction of misfortune, potentially driving a young life off track forever. When facing such possibilities, it is wise to have experienced legal counsel. A skilled Tennessee attorney can provide a strong defense.