IN student charged for posting video game of shooting zombies in high school hallways
SCOTTSBURG, IN (WAVE) - A Scottsburg, IN, high school senior was arrested and charged with intimidation after posting a video to Facebook.
The video, taken and posted to Facebook by 18-year-old Sean Small, shows Small playing an augmented reality video game called "The Walking Dead, Our World."
Using his phone, the video pops zombies up for you to shoot and kill in your location. In Small's case, it was the hallways at Scottsburg High School.
Court records show a student saw the video posted on Facebook and reported it to school leaders. Small was later questioned and arrested.
So -- harmless video game or concerning behavior in a school? The video has many people in the Scottsburg community split.
"It's a simple game, that's all," Kris Small, Sean's dad, said.
Kris and his family were there for Sean inside the Scott County courthouse Thursday afternoon as Sean and his attorney walked in for an initial hearing on the intimidation charge he's faced with.
Scott County District 2 Superintendent Mark Slaton said Thursday they cannot talk about Small's case specifically, but said every threat or potential threat to the school is taken seriously and investigated. If deemed legitimate, Slaton said, the threat is then investigated by police.
"In today's society where schools have become targets of violence, we must take a serious and deliberate approach to our investigations," Slaton said. "Scott County School District 2 takes the safety of our students seriously and as a result we will do our due diligence in providing as reasonably safe as possible environment for our students and staff."
Small's family said they understand the need for safety, but stressed the video doesn't target any students, just zombies.
"He's targeting zombies," Kris Small said. "So unless zombies are now a protected class in Scott County, I don't think anyone's at threat by this."
The video is impacting Small's future at Scott County High School and could impact his future in the Indiana National Guard, where he is a member. Small recently returned from his basic training at Fort Benning.
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A spokesperson for the Indiana National Guard told WAVE 3 News that they support the investigation by law enforcement and added that any decision on Small's future in the guard would be determined after the criminal proceedings in the case conclude.
The video, posted in an instant, is leaving a far-reaching impact.
"It could have serious consequences and he's going to be expelled from school," Kris Small said. "This could affect him going into college, there's all sorts of ramifications for just simply posting a video."
The Scott County prosecutor declined to comment on the charges Thursday. The family said they don't hold any blame against the county, saying their focus is on the school system with the impact to their son over the video.
"To watch our son be led out and knowing he's being charged for posting a video game online is just infuriating and outrageous," Kris Small said. "I work in the mental health field and I work with people who are potentially violent, this is not a potentially violent person. This is a kid who thought this is a fun game, let's post it online."
He said Sean will have an expulsion hearing with the school next week.
A trial date has been set for Oct. 23. If convicted, Small could face up to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine.
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