Police Take Person into Custody for Making Threats to Suburban Schools on 9/11
Law enforcement officers arrested an individual who allegedly made several racist threats to students online in the Philadelphia suburbs. The threats were reportedly made on Sunday, September 10, but were made in reference to the school day on Monday, September 11. That was the 16th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.
The threats appeared on an Instagram page titled “East Shade Room.” It reportedly used racial slurs and nicknames to refer specifically to black, Hispanic and white students. Three specific students at West Chester East High School were singled out and were told, “If you guys come to school tomorrow, you will die.”
The West Goshen Township police told the media it had a suspect in custody, but did not say if the suspect was a student.
Criminal threats have serious consequences
Although the U.S. Constitution protects individuals’ right to free speech, criminal threats are not an example of protected speech. This includes any sort of threat to cause physical harm, such as the threats made in the Instagram post, no matter if the person making the threat intends to follow through on it.
In these situations, a juvenile who makes such a threat often faces expulsion from school, fines and probation, among other penalties. Adults who make these threats could be jailed, depending on the nature and severity of the threat.
For more information on the legal consequences of making threats, consult skilled Reading criminal defense attorney David R. Eshelman.