Facebook post lands St. James student in jail
Wed, 14 Dec 2011 23:21:24 GMT —
Horry County Police arrested three students in connection with a bomb threat investigation at St. James High School. They charged Ashley Snyder, 17, and Clinton Welch, 18, with disturbing schools. Police say Snyder wrote the threatening message on her Facebook page and Welch became disruptive during the investigation. Tirrell Lance is charged with misprison of a felony, which means he knew about a crime but didn't report it. Police say Lance found the note, tampered with evidence and misled detectives to try to obstruct the investigation. For more on their arrests, click here.
Of the three arrested, Ashley Snyder's charge has received a lot of attention. Particularly because a Facebook comment landed the teen behind bars.
Horry County Police have responded to St. James High School for five bomb threats in three weeks. Police say during the last threat Tuesday, Snyder posted the comment "time to die" on her Facebook page after being evacuated onto the football field.
"Because of the situation, because of the statement that was made there was panic that was created throughout the school community with parents," explains Sgt. Robert Kegler.
Snyder appeared in court Wednesday morning for the misdemeanor charge of disturbing schools. Judge Christoper Arakas set her bond at $1,000. While some may argue Snyder's comment was not a threat, police say it has to be taken seriously.
"The evacuation was already complete, but you have parents that may not be able to get ahold of their children, and they're trying to keep up with the news, whether it's by television, internet, or specifically Facebook or Twitter, and they see a statement like that, and it just causes more anxiety, more panic when you can't physically talk to your child," adds Sgt. Kegler.
With the popularity of social media, oftentimes users post updates about everything happening in their lives, and they may not be aware of the consequences. Snyder isn't the first person to be arrested by Horry County Police for a comment posted on a social media website.
"It's not like we're out there looking at Facebook and Twitter, at the students, at people randomly to see if there's any type of threats to anything in Horry County. These things are being brought to our attention," says Sgt. Kegler.
The disturbing schools law makes it unlawful to interfere or loiter at a school. That includes universities as well.