JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) - On the surface, it read like a 15-year-old was going to bring a gun to school and shoot people, but the student's attorney said it was just a flip statement on Facebook.
The Jeffersonville High School Freshman went before a judge after police took him detained him for making terroristic statements. Attorney Larry Wilder said the post he put on Facebook was "I am the guy :)!" Wilder said it was part of a string of posts on the social media site about the world ending Friday according to the Mayan calendar. After one student posted someone would shoot people at the high school on that day, Wilder's client made the statement.
Wilder said he understand why the school and police are taking the sentence so seriously."We live in a different time and a different age. What you say is magnified a thousand times, if not 10,000 times." Though he's concerned that kids are losing their freedom of speech and that the teen will be used as an example in a very emotional time following the Connecticut school tragedy. "We're now telling them you can't be flip, you can't make comments that can be misconstrued, no matter how outrageous they are."
Wilder said the police searched the student's home and computer and found no guns, weapons or evidence of a plan to carry out a shooting at Jeffersonville High School.
Clark County Deputy Prosecutor Linda Lamping is handling the case. She couldn't comment specifically on the evidence, but said 90 percent of her cases with kids involve the internet. "They're doing things and saying things that I think most parents would be appalled that they do and say."
She said while teachers and police officers are doing everything they can to protect and prevent, parents need to do their part too. "If you want to protect your child as much as you can within this computer age, you must monitor what they're doing on the computer."
Wilder hopes other teens will use his client's comments online as a lesson. "What I hope the outcome is that a whole bunch of young people see this and understand that you are young, yes, but unfortunately because of a day in age we live in you've got to act more responsibly."
Lamping had several other pieces of advice for parents. Click in the 'Web Extra' box to watch her full interview.
Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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