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New Miami High School students accused of Facebook threats avoid jail, must write essays instead

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HAMILTON, Ohio -- Two New Miami High School students accused of making Facebook threats against their school avoided jail time after a hearing Friday.

The two St. Clair Township teen girls -- one age 14 and the other 15 -- were arrested Oct. 28 after a teacher alerted school administrators of their social media conversation that authorities called “terroristic.”

In the conversation between the two girls on Facebook, one posted "I swear to god I hate this school and like 95% of the people in it."

The other girl charged in the case responded, "I say we go on a killing spree. Bang Bang."

 

Both teens were charged as juveniles with delinquency by reason of inducing panic, as well as delinquency by reason of making terroristic threats.

But Friday, the girls admitted to a reduced charge of attempting to induce panic.

The mood was somber when the girls entered Judge Kathleen Romans' courtroom.

Lawyers suggested that bullying might have triggered the postings, but the girls made no reference to that in their comments.

"I'm very sincere and I mean that I'm very sorry for all the panic or whatever I've caused," one teen said. "It was meant as a joke and I didn't realize how serious it was. I know that I deserve to be punished, but I'm still a child making mistakes."

In past hearings, both teens were ordered to undergo psych evaluations.

Authorities found no weapons when the girls were arrested.

"When I made the comment, I didn't realize what the circumstances would be," the other teen said. "Now that I've been here and I see like what's been going all around with the other shootings and stuff, I realize it was very serious and I am very sorry."

Judge Romans didn't mince words in reminding the girls of the dangers of Internet postings that live on forever.

"The next time you even think about it, just remember you wouldn't say it out of your own mouth, why would you put it out there for everyone to see forever," Romans told the girls. "I want you to think about that in the future. I understand you've been through a lot, too, but there were a lot of people that were upset at school. A lot of people inconvenienced."

The girls were put on probation, released to their guardians and can't use the Internet or social media without supervision.

They also have to write an essay on the appropriate use of social media.

Their attorneys said the teens get the message from Friday's hearing loud and clear and won't be in trouble again.

For a breakdown on how parents can talk to their teens about Facebook, while observing their posts and keeping boundaries, click here.

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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