Two Forsyth County teens have been charged with terroristic threats following an investigation into a social media conversation containing racist language, personal attacks and threats, which was brought forward to administrators at Vickery Creek Middle School last week.
According to a letter sent home to Vickery Creek parents on Wednesday, Nov. 6, the “racist” conversation between “a number of students” allegedly took place on the social media platform Snapchat over the weekend of Nov. 2, causing disruptions when school resumed on the following Monday.
Messages between the students reportedly involved the use of racial and sexual profanity, referring to slavery and threats of violence, a source familiar with the situation said.
On Wednesday, Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Cpl. Doug Rainwater, said that two of the students were charged after sheriff’s office investigators reviewed dozens of pages of messages from the social media platform Snapchat and uncovered several specific threats, involving shooting and other types of harm, which had allegedly been made against other students.
Rainwater said that these threats were discovered on Nov. 2. The following day deputies from the sheriff’s office school resource unit visited the homes of two students allegedly responsible for the threats, determining that they had “no means of carrying out” any threat and never posed a threat to the public.
Even though the teens had no means of carrying out a threat, Rainwater said that the sheriff’s office takes every threat of violence seriously.
The two students were charged with misdemeanor terroristic threats and released to their parents on Nov. 8.
“In this day and age, if you threaten to shoot someone, we can no longer take that as a case of teenage venting,” Rainwater said. “If you make that threat publicly, the next day we will be knocking on your door.”
Eleven total students will face some amount of disciplinary action for their part in the incident, according to Forsyth County Schools Director of Communications Jennifer Caracciolo. Caracciolo said the school system cannot share the specifics of student discipline, only that the tribunals for some of the students involved will take place this week.
“We ask that parents/guardians discuss with their children the importance of respect and openness to ensure that our schools are safe, free of harassment and discrimination,” Caracciolo said in a statement. “It is our responsibility to prepare and inspire our children to be inclusive.”