On­line death threats against stu­dent probed

Los Angeles Times - - THE STATE - By Car­los Lozano car­los.lozano@la­times.com

In­ves­ti­ga­tors are try­ing to de­ter­mine who is re­spon­si­ble for mak­ing death threats on so­cial me­dia against a mid­dle school stu­dent in San Di­mas, au­thor­i­ties said.

The threats and den­i­grat­ing mes­sages re­cently posted on Instagram were di­rected at a girl at Lone Hill Mid­dle School, ac­cord­ing to the Los An­ge­les County Sher­iff’s Depart­ment. The girl, who has not been iden­ti­fied, and her fam­ily re­main safe.

Some of the posts show pho­tos of the vic­tim with cap­tions such as, “Your life is very short sweet­heart, this is you last week! Times up!” and “That smile! I cant wait till its just blood and tears.”

Sher­iff’s deputies in­creased their pres­ence on and around the cam­pus and around the vic­tim’s home last week, au­thor­i­ties said.

“Our pri­mary con­cern is the safety of the stu­dents,” the Sher­iff’s Depart­ment said in a state­ment. “We will con­tinue to fo­cus our ef­forts on pre­vent­ing vi­o­lence and any fur­ther threats.”

The threats were re­ported by var­i­ous sources, in­clud­ing some stu­dents who in­formed school ad­min­is­tra­tors, one of­fi­cial told the San Bernardino Sun. There was at least one ad­di­tional threat posted last week, au­thor­i­ties said.

Instagram, which is owned by Face­book, is co­op­er­at­ing with au­thor­i­ties.

“We are en­cour­aged by the find­ings of the in­ves­ti­ga­tors so far,” sher­iff ’s of­fi­cials said in the state­ment. “The foren­sic process of gath­er­ing elec­tronic ev­i­dence of­ten takes sev­eral rounds of search war­rants, as we fol­low up on in­for­ma­tion we re­ceive. The in­ves­ti­ga­tion seems to have a good like­li­hood of a de­fin­i­tive an­swer in the end.”

But au­thor­i­ties warned par­ents to be aware of their chil­dren’s on­line ac­tiv­ity.

“Con­flicts at school, and bul­ly­ing, are very real prob­lems,” the Sher­iff’s Depart­ment said in its state­ment. “Chil­dren are some­times suspended or ex­pelled from school based on the se­ri­ous na­ture of threats, of­ten con­sid­ered crimes, or at least vi­o­la­tions of school poli­cies.”

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