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School threat on social media leads to charges

A social media threat made toward Western Albemarle High School early Friday morning will result in criminal charges of threatening, according to Albemarle County police.

Police officials said they received notice of the threat Friday before school and immediately investigated.

“After an investigation, officers determined this threat not to be credible,” said Bridgette Butynski, police information officer in a prepared statement.

“The responsible juvenile will be charged with the following: Threats of death or bodily injury to a person or member of his family; threats of death or bodily injury to persons on school property; threats of death or bodily injury to health care providers,” she said.

Police did not release the person’s name because of the age.

Butynski said the juvenile who made the treat will be charged under a state law with penalities ranging from a class 5 felony, if terrorism-related, or a class 1 misdemeanor.

The law specifically allows any person younger than 18 years of age to be charged with a misdemeanor.

Butynski said police want anyone who sees a threat on social media, in a text or an internet site, to notify a school administrator and the police.

“[Police] will work with the school to develop a plan of action. At no point should anyone share it with friends or post it online,” Butynski said in the statement.

She noted that while there is a certain amount of anonymity online and with certain internet-based apps, most are not entirely private.

“Some may think that school threats are funny, but the community and police do not,” she said. “Those who make these posts will be held accountable and there will be criminal consequences.”


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