This Is NOT The Right Way To Gain Instagram Followers

Photographed by Rockie Nolan.
How far would you go to get more followers on Instagram? Perhaps not as far as one Texas 13-year-old, who allegedly posted an online threat to her classmates to see how many followers she could get.

An unidentified teen at T.W. Browne Middle School in Dallas allegedly posted an Instagram photo with a caption threatening to open fire at the school. The photo featured a Black man holding a gun, an image the student apparently found on Google. The caption included the phrase "this is no joke," and it warned that all of the students would die. School officials were notified of the threat on Monday, and the school increased its on-campus security on Tuesday.

The girl faces juvenile charges of making a terrorist threat, according to statements from the Dallas Independent School District (DISD). The teen told police that she posted the photo to see how many Instagram followers she could get, DISD Police Chief Craig Miller told Refinery29. If she is convicted of the charges, she could face up to 10 years in prison, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.

"We had, in this case, an inordinate amount of resources deployed to a middle school where there was supposed to be a threat," Miller told Refinery29. He explained that police have to investigate every threat, but the student told police that she had no weapon and no intent of hurting anyone — her only intent was seeing how much attention the post could generate on Instagram. While such threats might seem harmless to young people, the police and the school want students to know that it's not okay to post online threats, even as a joke. "We're not going to tolerate this," Miller added, noting that the department has seen "an extreme increase in these types of threats" as of late.
Miller also noted that the suspect allegedly used another student's phone to post the warning, and that student may be charged as well. Police tracked down the post's IP address to the other student.

"Ultimately, we've got to be clear that in the Dallas Independent School District, we aren't going to tolerate those types of threats," Jonathan Smith, principal of T.W. Browne Middle School, told Fox 4 News. "We're a place for learning, we're here for learning, and we want to ensure the safety of our students."

This should go without saying, but, kids, don't post Google photos of people holding guns and threaten your classmates. Gaining few more Instagram followers isn't worth spending years in prison.

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