The television series “Pretty Little Liars” is a show that has been popular with teen girls. Apparently, the show negatively influenced the behaviors of some teens. A serious incident, inspired by the show arose, prompting the closure of a high school in the United States. The incident happened in the state of Ohio. Making threats to the safety of any person isn’t a joking matter and although the rationale for the incident has not yet been fully explained, here is what we know.
High School Students arrested for making threats
Several teenage girls aged 14 and 15 were arrested for making threats to their classmates at the school. The methods that the girls used was a copycat version of a storyline that was aired from the television series. There were several menacing and threatening messages delivered by the group. In the TV show, a character makes anonymous threats against other characters and goes by the letter A to do so. One of the members of the group created an account on Snapchat using A as the username and posted a series of threats including the revelation of secrets and about a school shooting. Another of the girls followed up by confirming the threat by writing “I’m till going to shoot up the school,” on a mirror in the bathroom.
Swift action taken by school authorities
Law enforcement was quickly brought in on the situation and when the girls were identified, all were arrested for making the threats. They have been charged with crimes in Juvenile court because they are all still minors. The incident happened in Piqua High School which is a short distance from Columbus, Ohio. The school immediately cancelled classes to protect the students of the district. In the wake of the rash of school shootings in recent years, schools are continually on high alert for potential school shooters. It is unclear why the girls participated in this highly illegal activity.
Who is to blame for this incident?
It would be too easy to assign the blame for the girls’ illegal actions on the influential television show, but would we be correct in doing so? One thing is for certain, and it’s that the fast action on the part of the school was a responsible step forward to address the issue with consequences that will be remembered. Each of these girls are in serious trouble, and are more likely to receive psychological evaluations and follow-up treatment, regardless of the findings of the courts. Was it a joke, or were they really planning to carry out their threats? At a minimum, there was intent to frighten, coerce, harass and bully.
Kids will be kids is no longer a viable excuse
Death threats cannot be ignored and there is hope that whatever the reason for this disturbing behavior, each of the girls participating in the incident will get the help that is obviously, badly needed. Most schools now embrace a zero tolerance policy when it comes to threats of violence. Any such action should be taken seriously and severe consequences are in order, along with any treatments and additional actions that may help to prevent another school tragedy.