In this day and age, it doesn’t make sense to post threats on any social media sites, especially if you’re talking about murdering your classmates. Given the inexplicably large number of school shootings the world has experienced over the past few years, engaging in this sort of ignorant, antisocial behavior will likely land you in serious trouble. Even if you’re just joking about gunning down the people you dislike, the climate just isn’t right for this sort of misguided humor.
A trio of eighth-graders from Griffith Middle School in Griffith, Indiana were expelled in January after jokingly posting about which of the people at their school they would like to murder. Although the inclusion of “LOL” was used as an indicator that they were just fooling around, school officials couldn’t find the humor in the situation. The teens were promptly suspended for their actions, though they were later expelled for the remainder of the year.
In response to the situation, the American Civil Liberties Union — ACLU to those who only speak in acronyms — has filed a lawsuit against the school, claiming that the girls were treated unfairly. Their defense: The inclusion of various emoticons should have let concerned parties know that the girls were only kidding.
“The fact of the matter is that no reasonable person looking at this conversation would think that these girls were going to go out and inflict harm on anyone. If you make a legitimate threat against someone … you don’t follow it up with an emoticon,” ACLU attorney Gavin Rose told The Associated Press.
The whole scenario was brought to the school’s attention after a concerned mother submitted a printed version of the Facebook posts to school officials. The conversation — which reportedly spans 70 posts — details who they would like to kill and why. The entire exchange was described “jestful”. Still, kids joking about killing other kids is always a reason to be concerned.
Griffith Middle School has 21 days to address the lawsuit.