An eighth grade female has been arrested for posting an online threat against T.W. Browne Middle School, in Dallas, Texas. The teenager told authorities that she created the threatening post on Instagram because she thought it would earn her more social media followers.
The teenager had posted the image of an African-American man aiming a gun and included a caption threatening the students of T.W. Browne Middle School, singling out 6th and 7th graders.
“Everybody at t.w. Browne gone die,” the post read. “IMA kill everybody even 6graders and 7graders… this is no joke.”
School officials reported the online threat to authorities on Dec. 1. The Dallas Independent School District (ISD) police traced the threat back to an 8th grade student and have placed her under arrest.
While her name is not being shared with the press because she is a minor, it has been confirmed that she is a student attending T.W. Browne Middle School.
The suspect told ISD police that she found the image online and posted it with the threatening caption because she wanted more Instagram followers. She is being charged for making a terror threat, a third-degree felony that could see her sentenced to between 2 and 10 years in a correctional facility, and a $10,000 fine.
“Ultimately, we've got to be clear that in the Dallas Independent School District, we aren’t going to tolerate those types of threats,” said T.W. Browne principal Jonathan Smith, according to Fox News. “We’re a place for learning, we're here for learning and we want to ensure the safety of our students."
There have been 1,619 social media threats made against schools in Texas between 2014 to 2015, The Dallas Morning News reports.
"In our country right now, threats are at the highest level they have ever been with regards to educational institutions,” said Dallas ISD Police Chief Craig Miller, according to NBC News.
Miller hopes that the felony charge facing the 8th grade suspect will discourage other young people from making threats of violence on social media.
"I think it’s imperative we set an example to the community that we are not going to tolerate this," Miller said, adding that online threats create a culture of fear in schools. "Every single day a kid is not in school, they are missing an opportunity to learn,"