Family says New Miami High School students' shooting spree Facebook threats were 'a joke'

HAMILTON, Ohio -- Whether they were serious or not, when two New Miami High School students wrote on their Facebook pages Thursday night, “I say we go on a killing spree” and “Bang bang” – action was taken.

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

But Terry Taylor, the uncle of one of the students, says that just isn’t true.

"It was a joke," Taylor said.

The girls posted the following on Facebook:

"I swear to god I hate this school and like 95% of the people in it."

"I say we go on a killing spree. Bang bang."

"Bang bang. That'll be like the third school shooting. Aye, you know I'm down lololol."

"Your first on my hit list."

Even if they were just kidding, University of Cincinnati Journalism professor Jeff Blevins said there was no turning back for the girls once those words were written.

"Once the genie's out of the bottle, it doesn't go back in," Blevins said.

Blevins said young people using social media should be more educated about how 'unprivate' the Internet is.

At one of the girls' arraignments in Butler County Juvenile Court Tuesday, her custodians asked the judge to bar cameras from members of the media.

But in our digital age, Blevins said hiding their identities won’t be easy.

"The things that you put out there can live there forever,” he said. “You lose control of it. And you lose control over how that information is going to be interpreted, things that you say."

Authorities found no weapons when the girls were arrested. They were charged as juveniles with delinquency by reason of inducing panic, as well as delinquency by reason of making terroristic threats.

Dave Gibson, superintendent of New Miami Schools, said he is unaware of any previous problems with the teens.

"We will follow the lead of the Butler County Sheriff's Department and the court system," he said. "They have been disciplined here at school, they have been suspended from school with the recommendation for expulsion."

After reading the Facebook posts, Taylor said he doubted his niece and her friend realized the severity of their social media talk. 

But Gibson said the matter would be taken very seriously. 

"The way schools stay safe is because of proactive kids, teachers and parents so when we have an opportunity to see, hear or be in front of something like this, we are always going to take it serious," he said. 

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

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